Lorenzo grew up in a working-class neighborhood in St. Louis. His father wanted him to be a brick-yard laborer, in the family tradition. But Lorenzo loved baseball, and he wouldn’t give up. When he was 16 years old, playing on an American Legion team, a teammate observed Lorenzo in the on-deck circle, waiting to bat. He thought that he looked like the Indian yogis he had seen in a movie. The nickname stuck with him, Yogi.
The baseball stats for Yogi Berra are really astounding: 18 All-Star games; 10 World Series championships as a player; a .285 career batting average; 358 home runs. He is also one of the few managers to reach the World Series in both leagues. When it was all said and done, he put in 44 years in a baseball uniform as a player for the Yankees, a manager for the Yankees and the Mets, and a coach for three teams. The few Yogi Berra baseball cards that I have are among my most treasured cards, for sure.
He was the manager for the Mets in 1973. In June of ‘73 his team sank to last place. But Yogi famously observed, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” The Mets went on to go to the World Series that year, losing to the A’s.
I don’t know much about Yogi’s heavenly faith, but his words of hope are true throughout holy scripture. Don’t give up. Whatever we are facing, whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, keep on going. It ain’t over till it’s over. Even in the cellar of the league, even in a pandemic, there is still hope. Hold on to God. Hold on to hope.
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