Baseball is a tough game, and it can be really rough on relationships.
The home fires almost inevitably take a hit under the strain of six months on the road, plus another six weeks in Spring Training, plus — for the most successful — a romp through October.
But even beyond the effects all that away time has on family life, there are the dynamics that develop within a Major League clubhouse over the seasons.
Most of us will never be privy to what really goes on, which players dislike each other, which coaches and managers have run-ins with their charges.
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When a rift rises to the upper levels of an organization, though, and when that organization is the highest-profile club in all of sports, well, you can be sure we’re going to hear about it.
And that was especially true a few decades back, when baseball could still claim the time of “National Pastime” with a mostly straight face.
So, early in the 1985 season, it was big news when New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dispatched general manager Clyde King to fire manager Yogi Berra, as legendary a Yankee as you were likely to find anywhere.
The Boss had tired of all the losing, it seemed, what with the team starting off at 6-10 and all.
The previous season, Yogi had guided the Yanks to an 87-75 third-place finish after Martin was canned during the 1983-84 offseason.
And that was enough to warrant a promise: Steinbrenner assured Yogi heading into 1985 that the former Bronx catcher and Hall of Famer would be at the helm all season long.
Then, just like that … he wasn’t.
That broken vow set off a 14-year feud that saw the two New York heavyweights becoming increasingly icy toward each other, to the point that Berra skipped the 1988 ceremony at Yankee Stadium honoring him with a plaque in Monument Park.
In fact, Berra didn’t step foot inside The Stadium again until the summer of 1999 … on Yogi Berra Day.
Indeed, it was a day to celebrate a hero’s homecoming, made possible only after Steinbrenner ate his hat and went to Berra to apologize that January.
It was an uncharacteristic gesture for the man so famous for his bluster and ironhanded handling of, like, everything.
And so, on July 18, 1999, Berra stepped foot inside the house he helped remodel with ten shiny World Series trophies, an old Yankee legend cavorting with the new-breed dynasty defined by Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and all the rest.
At the same time Berra was busy mending fences and blending eras, Upper Deck was treating collectors to a then-and-now mashup of their own.
Indeed, the 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends set was one of the first to bring together old-time legends with then-current greats, a trend that collectors and other card companies have embraced in the two decades since.
The first fifty cards of that issue featured the players selected by The Sporting News as the greatest fifty from the twentieth century.
And there at number 40?
Yeah, it was Yogi Berra, Yankees great … once and forever.
If you want a more obscure Yogi Berra card, you should check out this eBay listing …
That’s a 1951 Topps proof card — a real-life “1/1” as the copy says.
Is it really worth six figures (plus)??
No clue, but it sure is fun to look at.
Check out the full listing right here (affiliate link).
1981 Topps Baseball Cards Complete Your Set U-Pick (#'s 1-200) Nm-Mint
| $1.29 |
End Date: Tuesday 04/04/2023 20:47:49 EDT
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