Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball’s Greatest Gift

Harvey Araton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-74672-2
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Ron Guidry got to know Yogi Berra, the beloved baseball legend and notable quotable, in 1977, when he was a curious young ace pitcher for the New York Yankees and Berra was a venerable coach with answers. When Berra joined the Yankees as a spring training instructor in 2000, Guidry volunteered to pick up Berra, eventually becoming his valet and companion during their monthlong stay in Florida. That annual arrangement has bloomed into a deep friendship. Guidry calls Berra his best friend, and as his former mentor approaches 90, Guidry has become a guardian and protector. Berra cares for Guidry, though he’s loath to say that. “He doesn’t want to be treated like a superstar or a celebrity,” says Kevin McLaughlin, a Berra family friend. “He wants his friends to bust his balls. He loves it. And nobody does it better than [Guidry].” Araton (When the Garden Was Eden) deftly and tenderly traces the odd couple’s rapport, which involves an assist from late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, whose apology to an angry Berra ended his long exile from the venerable organization. More than a portrait of two unlikely pals, Araton has fashioned a tribute to the days when teams could be considered families, rather than a collection of constantly changing faces. The book should soothe the soul of the most cynical sports fan. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2012
Release date: 04/03/2012
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