Quotes From Yogi

"While he did mangle a phrase now and then, with Yogi it was important that you listen to what he was saying, not how; and what he said generally made very good sense."
--Donald Honig, New York Mets

"If Yogi had gone to college, they would have made him talk clearer, but not better."
--Nolan Ryan

"Talking to Yogi Berra about baseball is like talking to Homer about the Gods."
--A. Bartlett Giamatti, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball

Yogi Berra said a lot of things. But he didn't say all the things people said he said. Below are quotes of things he didn't say and quotes of things he did say. All quotes have been obtained from Yogi's book (Yogi -- It Ain't Over..., Yogi Berra with Tom Horton, 1989, McGraw Hill Publishing Company, ISBN 0-07-096947-7), or other books of baseball quotes. At the bottom of the page are the quotes which we have yet to authenticate.

First Of All, What Yogi Didn't Say

"Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets." (Sorry, but Rocky Bridges said this, not Yogi.)

"It's deja vu all over again." (What a howler! Yogi never said it, Yogi says he never said it in his book, yet the clown who wrote the jacket notes of his book says he said it.)

"Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't go to yours."

"Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken." (This was in a telegraph that someone sent to Johnny Bench after breaking Yogi's record for most home runs by a catcher. The telegraph was signed Yogi Berra, but Yogi suspects it was a publicity stunt.)

"If we didn't want to bring him up, we might as well have let him stay down." (Supposedly said about Craig Biggio when Yogi was with the Astros. What Yogi really said was, "If we didn't want to use him every day, we might as well have let him stay down.")

"...Mt. Sinus Hospital..."

"Was that local time?" (Alleged by Jack Buck to have been asked by Yogi when told that Jack was getting to his hotel around 2 AM.)

"Like hell it was. It was a clean single to right." (Allegedly Yogi's reply when told that a newspaper's report of Yogi going 2 for 4 instead of 3 for 4 was a typographical error.)

"We've had enough trowles and tribulations."

"When I was young and green behind the ears..."

"Never answer an anonymous letter."

"We made too many wrong mistakes." (Yogi doesn't deny he said this. He said that won't deny that he said it because it gave him such a thrill when former president George Bush quoted Yogi as having said it.)

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." (Yogi is pretty sure that he never said this one.)

"You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn't enough, in the second half, you have to give what is left."

"90% of putts that are short don't go in."

Now, What Yogi Did Say

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel." (However, Yogi says he has since changed his mind on this subject.)

"A little bit." (Yogi's reply when asked if he really had confused Glenn Close, the actress, with Glen Cove, a suburb.)

"How long have you known me and you still can't spell my name?" (Yogi's comment after having received a check for $25.00 made out to "Bearer" from Jack Buck in payment for having appeared on Jack Buck's radio show.)

"...contract lens..." (Yogi says this was a slip of the tongue.)

"For what?" (Yogi's reply when, while signing autographs, a woman called out, "Hey Yogi, do you have a minute?".)

"I don't have a ten." (Yogi's reply, after thumbing through a large roll of bills that he pulled out of his pocket, to Joe Pepitone's request for ten dollars for breakfast.)

"He is a big clog in their machine." (Yogi says this was another slip of the tongue.)

"I will get it when I die!" (Yogi's somewhat heated reply to a teammate in the clubhouse telling him that he was foolish for buying life insurance.)

"Look in my pants pocket and give him five bucks." (Yogi's reply when told that the man was there to repair the Venetian blinds.)

"Even the music was nice." (Yogi's comment about the opera Tosca.)

"Is he living? Is he living now?" (A question from Yogi during a game of 20 Questions.)

"...we were overwhelming underdogs..." (Yogi's comment to Nolan Ryan when talking about the 1969 Mets.)

"How did your's come out?" (Yogi's question after finishing a comic book one night to roommate/teammate Bobby Brown about the book he was reading (a medical textbook).)

"What kind of a bird is a cyst?" (Yogi's question when Joe Page told him that Enos Slaughter had said that he had been jumping in and out of the bushes so much looking for quail that he got a cyst on his back.)

"It's not too far, it just seems like it is." (Yogi giving directions to Yogi Berra's Hall of Fame Racquetball Club in Fairfield, New Jersey.)

"Do you mean now?" (Yogi's response when asked what time it was by Rube Walker, the Met's pitching coach, while flying from New York to Los Angeles.)

"I know, Texas has a lot of electrical votes." (Yogi's reponse to former president George Bush's remark that Texas was very, very important in the coming election.)

"You don't hit with your face." (Yogi's standard reply to people who said he was bad looking.)

"What about him?" (Yogi's response to the prompt "Mickey Mantle" when playing the Today Show Game (the announcer mentions a name and the interviewee mentions the first thing to enter his mind) after having been given a lengthy explanation of how the game was played.)

"Okay, who's in it?" (Yogi's reponse when asked if he wanted to go see a dirty movie.)

"If the guy was poor, I would give it back." (Yogi's response when asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.)

"He must have made that before he died." (Yogi said this about Steve McQueen while watching one of his movies. Yogi claims to have said this about Jeff Chandler and some other actors, too.)

"Yeah, only in America can a thing like this happen." (Yogi's comment on a Jewish mayor being elected in Dublin, Ireland.)

"You don't look so hot yourself." (Yogi's reply to then New York mayor John Lindsay's wife, Mary, after she had told Yogi that he looked nice and cool.)

"If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."

"George who?" (Yogi responding to the question, "Do you like George?". It is not clear from Yogi's book which George he is talking about. George Weiss, former General Manager of the Yankees, gave Yogi a hard time. And of course, Yogi refuses to set foot inside Yankee Stadium as long as the ballclub is owned by George Steinbrenner.)

"That's his style of hitting. If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"Thank you for making this night necessary." (Yogi's speech at Yogi Berra Night held for him by the St. Louis Cardinals.)

"I haven't seen him." (Yogi's reply to a teammate when told that he was waiting for Bo Derek.)

"A home opener is always exciting, no matter if it's home or on the road."

"I'm not in shape yet." (Yogi's reply when, as a young player, he was asked what size hat he wore.)

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win." (Yogi's comment on the Yankee's chances in 1964.)

"If I were playing alone, I would use my ball!" (Yogi's heated reply when playing scramble golf and the other three players refused to use Yogi's drive.)

"What's a Yogi-ism?" (Yogi's question after being told by Phil Garner that he had used a Yogi-ism.)

"I've been doing a commercial for Linseed Oil." (Yogi's answer when asked what he was doing after having made a Jiffy Lube commercial.)

"Yeah, what paper do you write for, Ernie?" (Yogi's comment when introduced to Ernest Hemingway.)

"Then I will use a Molitor 3." (Yogi's comment when told his golfing buddies were using Ultra 2 and Top Flight 3 golf balls.

"Where is that coming from?" (Yogi's query when it started raining while he was sitting in the back seat of a friend's car.)

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"All pitchers are liars or crybabies."

"...the meat's too tough and the horns get stuck in my teeth." (Yogi turning down mousse for dessert while visiting Alaska.)

"Better make it four. I don't think I can eat eight." (Yogi's reply when asked if he wanted his pizza cut into four or eight slices.)

"No, but I saw him." (Yogi when asked if he had had an audience with the Pope.)

"Those guys make a pair. " (Yogi's comment after seeing three of his players in the locker room wearing conehead caps. Incidentally, according to Yogi, Matt Galante, who went to St. John's for four years, didn't pick up on this for almost an hour.)

"No, ma'am, it's not even carbonated." (Yogi's answer when asked if the word Yoo-Hoo was hyphenated.

"The game is supposed to be fun. If you have a bad day, don't worry about it. You can't expect to get a hit every game."

"I can see how he won 25 games. What I don't understand is how he lost 5." (Yogi's comment on Sandy Koufax.)

"They are not going to make them next year, so I am going to buy a Volkswagen or a foreign car." (Yogi's comment to a friend regarding the fact that GM had stopped making the rear-engine Corvair.)

"Looks nice. I am thinking about a Vega." (Yogi's answer when asked by friend Frank Scott if he liked the Afghan dog in the back seat of his car.)

"No, but I was scared." (Yogi's reply when a reporter asked him if he were apprehensive during a 1973 playoff game won by Pete Rose with a 12th-inning home run.)

"I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four." (Yogi's answer when asked if he takes a nap before a night game.)

"What difference does the uniform make? You don't hit with it." (Yogi's comment on becoming coach of the Houston Astro's.)

"It gets late early out there." (Yogi's comment on the glare of the sun in left field at Yankee Stadium during the 1961 World Series against the Reds.)

"Closed." (Yogi's comment when asked what he liked best about school.)

"It ain't over 'til it's over." (Yogi's comment on the 1973 pennant race, as manager of the New York Mets.)

"You can see a lot just by observing."

"Baseball is ninety percent mental; the other half is physical."

"Swing at the strikes."

"Are you a better bone fisherman or a flycaster?" (Yogi's question to Ted Williams as he came to bat, hoping Ted wouldn't notice that the Yankees had put the Williams Shift on.)

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"If you don't catch the ball, you catch the bus home."

"Dickey is teaching me all his experiences." (Yogi's comment on learning catching from Bill Dickey.)

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." (Yogi's opinion of Rugerio's, a popular St. Louis restaurant where he had once worked as headwaiter.)

"If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are you gonna stop them?"

"How can you think and hit at the same time?"

"I am ... happy to speak my words at the university graduation. A lot of people have been quoting me ever since I came to play for the Yankees in 1946. But, as I once said, I really didn't say everything I said. So now it's my turn. I want to give some of my famous advice to the graduates. First, never give up, because it ain't over 'til it's over. Second, during the years ahead, when you come to the fork in the road, take it. Third, don't always follow the crowd, because nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded. Fourth, stay alert. You can observe a lot by watching. Fifth, and last, remember that whatever you do in life, 90 percent of it is half mental. In closing, I want to quote myself again: Thank you, Montclair State University, for making this day necessary." (Excerpts from Yogi Berra's commencement speech as delivered to the Class of 1996, Montclair State University.)

Quotes From Yogi Yet To Be Authenticated

These quotes have appeared on various web pages, but are not contained in Yogi's book and we have yet to come across any of them in our books of baseball quotes. If you have a source for any of these quotes, we would appreciate hearing from you.

  • It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future
  • I didn't say the things I said
  • In baseball, you don't know nothing.
  • You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there.
  • It ain't the heat, it's the humility.
  • I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?
  • He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious.


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