He’s smart and gifted. Yet he’s best known for his oddball aphorisms.
He was one of the best baseball players in history. Yet people who know nothing about baseball, think they know all about him.
His is one of the most remarkable personal brands I know of.
Today is Yogi Berra’s 90th birthday. I’m using a photo of him from about age 30 because, as he once said: “I looked like this when I was young, and I still do.”
I like Yogi for a lot of reasons.
First, we share a given name. Lawrence Berra got the “Yogi” nickname early in life when a baseball teammate, watching him sit cross-legged waiting for his turn to play, thought he resembled a Hindu yogi. I bet you thought he was named after the Yogi Bear cartoon character. It’s actually the other way around — a testament to how popular Yogi was during his playing career.
Second, I see something of myself in him. In school I was known as a brainy kid. To fit in with the more popular kids I “dumbed it down,” intentionally using poor diction or choosing the wrong word. After awhile I discovered that not only wasn’t I popular, I was proving myself untrustworthy by trying to be something I wasn’t.
To quote one of his aphorisms, I could’ve observed a lot by watching Yogi Berra. Continue reading