Yogi: A Life

Jon Pessah. Little, Brown, $30 (576p) ISBN 978-0-316-31099-4
Legendary Hall-of-Famer and folk sage Yogi Berra is baseball’s humble yet profound everyman in this warmhearted biography. Pessah (The Game), founding editor of ESPN the Magazine, recounts Berra’s ascent from a childhood in a working-class Italian-American neighborhood in St. Louis to his career as the catcher of the storied Yankees of the 1940s and ’50s, when he won five consecutive World Series rings. Pessah styles Berra as beloved but insufficiently respected: he suffered secret pain from jibes at his intelligence and looks—his long arms and fire-hydrant silhouette got him dubbed “the Ape”—and his kindness earned him a reputation as a weak, ineffectual manager even though he won two pennants in six seasons. He’s a down-to-earth and well-behaved but recessive figure in much of the book, a stolid foil for the antics of more dramatic Yankees like the tragic aristocrat Joe DiMaggio, the rebel boozehound Mickey Mantle, and the soap opera trio of George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and Reggie Jackson. Throughout, Pessah celebrates Berra’s cultural afterlife as a font of artless aphorisms in which wisdom rises from the ruins of logic (“You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise, they won’t come to yours”). The funny anecdotes and exciting play-by-play from baseball’s golden age will keep Berra’s legions of fans happy. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2020
Release date: 03/24/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-3304-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3142-4
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-316-31097-0
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