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The best things Yogi Berra ever said

(Steve Nesius/Reuters)

Yogi Berra won 10 World Series rings and was a war hero, but most people remember the things he said. His “Yogisms,” as they were known, took cliches and turned them on their heads until they were fun-house-mirror reflections of themselves, yet they still made a certain fractured sense. This was his genius.

[Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra dies at 90]

Here are his best ones.

(Quotes taken from various sources, many from this fantastic 1984 Sports Illustrated profile by Roy Blount Jr.)

“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

— Self-explanatory.

“Nobody ever goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

— According to Blount’s research, Yogi was not the first person to use this quote. It appeared in a New Yorker story in 1943, when Yogi was 18 and playing minor league ball in Norfolk. Still, he made it famous. We’re including it here.

[Why Yogi Berra matters]

“He must have made that before he died.”

— Talking about how he watched a Steve McQueen movie on television after the actor’s death in 1980.

“Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.”

— During a particularly rough stretch at the plate.

“You mean right now?”

— Yogi, when asked what time it was.

“If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be sleeping.”

— Well, obviously.

“It’s nothing but rooms.”

— Yogi, describing his enormous house in Montclair, N.J.

“If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.”

— Yogi’s ground rule for radio interviews.

“How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don’t know how to spell my name.”

— Yogi to announcer Jack Buck after he paid the Yankees catcher for a pregame show appearance with a check made out to “Bearer.”

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

— Indeed.

“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

— Yogi math.



This doesn’t quite fit into our ranking of the famous Yogisims, but it’s pertinent considering Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. Taken from Blount’s Sports Illustrated story.:

Yogi told of his meeting with Pope John XXIII in a now-famous interview:
Reporter: “I understand you had an audience with the Pope.”
Yogi: “No, but I saw him.”
Reporter: “Did you get to talk to him?”
Yogi: “I sure did. We had a nice little chat.”
Reporter: “What did he say?”
Yogi: “You know, he must read the papers a lot, because he said, ‘Hello, Yogi.’ ”
Reporter: “And what did you say?”
Yogi: “I said, ‘Hello, Pope.’ “