The New York Daily News and other outlets report that Carmen Berra, the wife of New York Yankees' Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for the past 65 years, has died from complications after a stroke. She was 85. Together the Berras raised three sons (including Dale Berra, who also played in the majors) and they have 11 grandchildren. Yogi turns 89 on May 12.
The story indicates that Yogi, who also frequents spring training as an instructor for his old team, was able to spend some time with Carmen on Thursday before she died. It's hard to imagine losing someone you've known, and to whom you've been so close, for all of that time. The official Yankees statement, shortly but sweetly given by Hal Steinbrenner, reflects that conundrum.
Berra made himself famous not only for his baseball career — he's perhaps one of the two or three best catchers in history — but also for his funny personality. He'd flub words, mix up phrases, speak redundancies and be as funny off the field as he was skilled on it. The phrase, "It ain't over 'til it's over"? That's Yogi.
What kind of woman would marry a man with a personality like that? And stay with him since 1949? One who appreciates humor.
Here's a portion of what the Daily News wrote:
Carmen Berra was known not only for her beauty but for her quick wit and charming personality. In an interview with Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden, Carmen Berra related how her husband once sent her an anniversary card signed, "Yogi Berra." She said she was glad he signed it that way because it eliminated any confusion about all the other Yogis she knew.
Carmen and Yogi were portrayed on Broadway in the "Bronx Bombers" musical, and this is what the casting call asked for regarding her:
“Character ages to 80s, petite, strong-willed, elegant, beautiful, Yogi’s wife of 30-60 years and the epitome of all that a Yankee wife should be. She exudes confidence without ever seeming pompous, and exemplifies the good citizen without ever appearing plain. She is dynamic, energetic, embodies sex appeal; men are attracted to her and women are drawn to her. A fashion maven, she has an instinct for saying, doing and wearing the right things at all the right times. All respect and admire her. Always in control. Must be 5’5'' and below.”
In recent years, the Daily News reports, Carmen Berra had been key in the operation of the Yogi Berra museum on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, N.J. That sounds like a neat place to patronize.
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