2 min read
Posted on 09.23.15
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 09.23.15
  • Filed under
  • Yogi Berra
  • the Hill
  • Mayor Francis Slay
  • Cardinal Nation
  • Joe Garagiola
  • Casey Stengel

 A son of St. Louis and one of baseball’s greats died this week. Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was 90.

Who could forget the memories? That has the ring of a “Yogi-ism,” those famously fractured expressions of wisdom bestowed upon the world for well more than 50 years by Yogi Berra, the St. Louis kid who grew up at 5447 Elizabeth Avenue on the Hill and went on to national renown.

Yogi had a Hall of Fame career as a catcher for the New York Yankees, a three-time MVP and World Series standout. On the way he became a genuine cultural icon.

Joe Garagiola, Yogi’s boyhood pal in St. Louis, used to say “Baseball is a funny game.” And everyone knows that Yogi Berra was a funny man — except his longtime manager, Casey Stengel.

Casey observed:

"They say he's funny. Well, he has a lovely wife and family, a beautiful home, money in the bank, and he plays golf with millionaires. What's funny about that?”

In June of this year, Mayor Francis Slay asked St. Louisans to add our names to a languishing White House petition seeking Presidential Medal of Freedom status for Yogi. The Medal of Freedom is conferred on those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.

Such petitions require 100,000 signatures to get a White House answer. With only 72 hours left, Yogi’s petition had fewer than 40,000 names.

St. Louis and Cardinal Nation stepped up.Yogi’s petition ended up with 111,627 signatures and drew a response from the White House.

We hope that’s not end of the story.

(Photo courtesy of Shaun Hautly, a resident of the Hill neighborhood.)