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Interview With Yogi Berra
Aired September 4, 2003 - 19:40 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yogi Berra remembered as one of the most colorful players in the history of baseball. He's also a hall of fame catcher from one of baseball's most legendary dynasties. The New York Yankees won the World Series 10 times while he was playing for them, between 1947 and 1962. He also is a noted wordsmith. He has a new book out with co-author Dave Caplan. It's called "Ten Rings: My Championship Seasons".
Yogi joined us earlier from New York earlier today.
KAGAN: Since baseball's a numbers game I want to start by throwing some numbers at you, all right?
YOGI BERRA, HALL OF FAME CATCHER: All right.
KAGAN: OK, 17 seasons, 10 championships, 75 World Series games. That's the most ever that a single individual has ever played in. With such vast experience why did it take so long for you to write this book?
BERRA: Why did it take so long?
BERRA: Well, I did other ones first. This happened when Dave Caplan over at the museum talked me a couple months ago and said, Let's do a book on 10 rings. I said if you want to do it, fine, let's do it. So it took us about three months and it finally came out. So we got it out today.
KAGAN: Three months to get out these great memories and for Yankees and baseball fans, it's going to be like having a front row seat to some of the best times of the game.
BERRA: That's right.
KAGAN: And yet to look back at you, to look back at what was the beginning of this career you describe to look at you, somebody wouldn't necessarily think now this is a natural baseball player. This is a natural. This is a guy who can catch.
BERRA: Well, sometimes I could catch. My first two years I was awful. I was terrible. Bill Dickey, the one that helped me out a lot here, Daryn, a lot. He -- I owe everything to him. KAGAN: But you were even saying, even describing in your book saying that, you know, short fingers, not an easy target for pitchers.
BERRA: Oh yes. They had to paint my fingers.
KAGAN: Yes. Just so they could see where to throw the ball.
KAGAN: Another great thing about this book, the characters, the baseball, the great personalities that you meet through the years. I mean, just to throw a few out there, you know, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Casey Stengel, Roger Marris.
BERRA: Ty Cobb.
KAGAN: That's a very, very short list. Ty Cobb. Exactly.
BERRA: Ty Cobb is right. I met them all.
KAGAN: What a life. What a journey it's been.
BERRA: It was fun. If I had to do it over again I would do it again.
KAGAN: You would?
BERRA: Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am.
KAGAN: If you could only meet a single one of those characters?
BERRA: They were nice people to meet. I liked George Weiss when he was with the Yankees. He loved the Old Timers' Day. He loved it. And he invited all these people to come, all these players to come. They have Old Timers' Day and we still do it. We're the only one in the big leagues that still has Old Timers' Day.
KAGAN: What is it about the day -- what characters today in baseball, which players fascinate you? Who do you like to watch?
BERRA: Oh, boy. I like to watch Rodriguez, the little catcher on the Florida Marlins. I like our shortstop, Jeter.
KAGAN: Derek Jeter.
BERRA: Rodriguez on Texas. The shortstop on Boston's not bad. Shortstop in Cleveland's not. They got a lot of good shortstops.
KAGAN: You're liking shortstops there.
BERRA: Well, they're -- that's where they start from, catching to shortstop and centerfield.
KAGAN: Right. What about -- but what about the state of the game today? You hear people being so critical of it, that young people aren't fascinated with it, that somehow it's missing something it had in its great heyday.
BERRA: Well, i think the young kids -- I think they're fascinated by it. They enjoy seeing the home runs hit today. The parks are smaller and they don't have -- the ballparks with big attendance anymore. You know, tops is about 42 or 40. Before at Yankee Stadium we could put 70,000 in it. Now 56 or 57 they put in.
KAGAN: When you -- going back to the beginning of looking at all these numbers the 10 championships, the 17 seasons, all the World Series games, most people, at least young people today, know you as the guy Yogi Berra who says all the funny stuff.
BERRA: I do that sometimes. But I don't know I do it though, Daryn. It just comes out. That's it.
KAGAN: You're just -- and you're just speaking from your heart.
BERRA: Yes. I really don't know. Like I sit at the dinner table, with my family, they say dad you said another one. I say what did I say? So I really don't know.
KAGAN: All right.
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