I remember you told me a couple of years ago that you were starting this book and you were saying that it was amazing that there’s never been a serious biography of Yogi Berra. And after having read yours — don’t take this the wrong way — but I kind of get why. There’s no big flamboyant conflict and drama in his life. Did you find that that was something you had to overcome, that lack?
Well, let’s put it this way: There are certain eras in sports and baseball when that’s a plus. And it struck me a couple years ago, even then, that this would be one of those times. It might be nice to read about a guy that there are no big dramatic issues concerning. That’s why I liked the idea of writing about Yogi.
I wanted to write about a life in baseball and keep it apart from huge contracts, drug issues, everything that’s been plaguing the game over the last couple of years. And, happily, he’s also one of the greatest players in baseball history, and maybe the most underrated. Which seems funny when you think about it, because he’s probably the best-known former ballplayer around and yet he’s underrated. He’s underrated as a player.
My dad hated the Yankees in that special way reserved for Mets fans. To the day he died, in fact. But he loved Yogi Berra.
*My favorite Yogi story. See, he came home one day and told his wife that the game that day had been interrupted by streakers. So Yogi’s wife asked him whether they were men or women streakers…