RUSH: Yogi Berra passed away at 90. You know, you’re always surprised — I am, anyway, you may find this tough to believe, but I’m always surprised to find out who listens to this program. I remember the first year I was at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, first year I was invited to play, there’s always a dinner that the organizers throw. It’s actually a heavy hors d’oeuvres cocktail reception, around 5:30 or 6 p.m.
The tournament starts on a Wednesday, it’s a five day tournament, or was, and it’s always a Tuesday night, and this was the tournament I first met Arnold Palmer, Fuzzy Zoeller’s guest. And Yogi Berra was in there, and, folks, please, you must understand why I tell you this, it was such an honor. His eyes lit up, he walked over to me and grabbed my hand and shook it. I was just stunned. I don’t know. I’m always surprised to find out who listens. And he said, “Let me ask you a question. Are you walking or are you riding a cart?”
And I said, “They told me I had to walk.”
He said, “You don’t. I’m in a cart. They’re letting me ride. If you want to ride, I’ll put in a word for you.”
And I said, “Well, I’ve already committed to walking and, you know, Yogi, I mean, this isn’t even golf for me. It’s hit a shot, then sign 50 autographs on the way to the next shot, hit the shot.”
He said, “Yeah, I know, I know, in a cart you won’t have to do that much.”
I said “I know, but I’m committed to it.” And every time I saw him after that he was same way. Now, when I worked for the Royals, I saw him all over the place when the Yankees were in, but I never went up and spoke to him. I was a peon. I was in the room, but I wouldn’t dare go up and talk to him. But he was one of those people that’s famous that you meet them and they’re exactly what you want them to be.
Everybody loved Yogi Berra. You know, Hanna-Barbera to this day maintains that Yogi Bear was not named after Yogi Berra, and he believed them. He originally wanted to get in on the action or sue them or something, his advisors did. But they maintained throughout his life, “It’s just a coincidence, Yogi.” And he ended up believing them. He didn’t fight it much after his first effort.
He was 90 years old. You know what Yogi would have probably said if you’d have told him yesterday he was going to die? “You know what? If I’d known I was gonna live so long, I probably wouldn’t have gotten so old.” He really said these things. The New York Post today has a collection of 35 of them. You’ve heard the famous, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, he meant it because he was giving somebody directions to his house in New Jersey, and either road you took would get you to his house. So “if you come to a fork in the road, take it,” was “you can’t make a mistake here, take either one you want, that’s how you’ll get to my house.”
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” They asked him once, he had a couple streakers at a baseball game, a man and woman streaking across the outfield nude. And they said, “Yogi, did you notice it was a man and a woman?” “No, they had towels over their heads.” He was checking out of a hotel and he couldn’t get his suitcase closed. Somebody called a bellman. “What’s the problem?”
“Your towels are too thick.” He was stealing towels from the hotel. (laughing) Ah, jeez. I met Joe DiMaggio, too, one night at 21 in New York. Those are people from a bygone era. I’ve always said that one of the greatest perks of the success I’ve had here is the people that it has afforded me the opportunity to meet. So I had to tell that little story just because Yogi was everything you thought he would be if you ever had a chance to meet him.