When You Come to a Fork in the Road, TAKE IT by Yogi Berra, with Dave Kaplan – Great for Educators & Parents

If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be sleeping.

  • Bad things can happen, and often do when you leave things to chance. Usually, you’re late. “Being early and being prepared to me, that was a big part of doing my job. I’ve always been an early riser. I always get up at 6 A. M. no matter what time it is.”

Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.

  • It’s not just enough to have a great product. You need to find ways to reinforce customer loyalty. If you don’t do that, nobody will go there anymore. The original quote was in reference to a crowded restaurant that was losing customers due to the fact that it had cut back on customer service. The main point is that you need to constantly work to get better.

So I’m ugly. So what? I don’t hit with my face.

  • The way you look shouldn’t affect what you do in life. As Abraham Lincoln use to say, “If people say I’m two-faced, why would I use this one?” Due to his looks, Yogi suffered a lot of insults. They only made him more determined to play harder. He found it to be a test of character. If you ever show someone that they are getting to you, you’re dead. Ignore. That’s what you gotta do, ignore.

There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.

  • Yogi played with Joe DiMaggio for the last five years of Joe’s career. For Yogi he was the type of mentor that we all need. He helped Yogi understand the importance of playing hard and playing hurt and what it was to be part of a team. Like Yogi, DiMaggio was the son of Italian immigrants and didn’t finish school. He understood his value to the team and fought for every dollar at contract time. He was also generous to other players who made less than he did.

Usually when you get one of these you’re dead or gone.

  • Yogi said this in reference to the opening of the Yogi Berra Museum and Education Center. Yogi gave all of the proceeds from a special day the Yankees had for him to the Lou Gehrig scholarship fund at Columbia University. Since baseball gave him more than he ever hoped for, he has always wanted to give something back and he hopes that others who are well off will do the same.

Only In America

  • Yogi tells the story of how his father and his friend Giovanni Garagiola gave up tenant farming in northern Italy to come to St. Louis to work making bricks. They bought identical houses across the street from each other in the Little Italy section. Their sons, Joe Garagiola and Yogi, both became major leaguers and Joe went on to a career in broadcasting. What are the odds? As Yogi says, only in America.

I’d see if I could find the guy that lost it, and if he was poor, I’d give it back.

  • People ask me about the business of baseball as if I’d gotten an MBA in 8th grade. I say that on good ball clubs and in good companies you need team players. You need everyone to perform and feel important. A lot of organizations aren’t good at crediting or rewarding their valuable people. Without them, you don’t succeed.

I’d rather be the Yankee catcher then the president.

  • Yogi has met all of the presidents from Eisenhower, who he fought for on D-Day, to George W. Bush. Many have quoted him and his déjà vu line even came up during Clinton’s impeachment hearings. George W. Bush, who was known for his malapropisms, carried a book of Yogi’s quotes and said Yogi would be a good press spokesman because he could always say, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

Most people know me by my face.

  • Although Yogi doesn’t feel famous he has adapted to being famous. He always tries to be cooperative with the media and fans and act in a responsible way. He just tries to treat everyone the same, whether it’s the guy pumping gas or the vice president of a bank.

I love movies when I like them.

  • When he was growing up there was no TV and they never went on vacation. Movies captured his imagination and took him to places he could never see. He would see pictures for a nickel on Sundays. Later in life he even got paid to do movie reviews.
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