"Ninety per-cent of this game is half mental".

I’m not a baseball fan, so please help me out here.
I’ve heard that old Yogi Berra quote many times. I’ve always assumed that fans liked it because it was spoken by the baseball hero, not an intellectual genius.
But some (most?) fans seem to think of it as a really profound philosophical observation, and don’t see a problem with the “ninety per-cent” vs “half” thingie. In other words, they don’t see it as a rather (stupid) thing to say, but as a good parallel to the rest of life. Men quote this, slap the table, and nod in unison.
I’ve read some of his other other sayings, too. Why did people encourage this guy, anyway? :wink:
Don’t get me started on “Déjà vu, all over again”.

I would disagree with your premise. Most people, and baseball fans, that I know would consider Yogi to be a funny guy, not a great sage, and only use the line in question ironically.

Yogi and Casey Stengel had this odd thing going on where they’d say something superficially stupid, but you knew what they meant.


Yogi Berra: “Mickey Mantle’s restaurant? No body goes there any more, it’s too crowded.”

Sometimes Stengel stepped over the line and we had no idea what he meant. An example from spring traing when he was coaching the Mets in they’re first season and he didn’t know any of the players:

“All of you guys go outside and line up alphabetically by height.”

You can’t read too much into these things, or you’ll go nuts.

Well, I sure hope so, Flymaster. They sure do fool me.
Was Yogi trying to be funny?

“Pair up in threes.”

A good Berra quote makes no sense, but you know exactly what it means. I like to think that there’s a little of the spirit of a zen koan at work here. It’s not some simple statement laid bare; the act of pondering it can reveal meaning.

And if you think these are so empty, try to come up with one yourself.

Damn, I wanted to be the first to bring up the koan aspect.

Yogi is obviously a bodhisattva.

Color television? I won’t believe it until I see it in black & white.

Apparently not. I’ve read interviews with Yogi where he claims to not even remember saying many of the things he is supposed to have said. He wasn’t denying he said them, he just didn’t remember. But people who know him well say that his mind more or less works that way.

“Yogi, do you want your pizza cut into four pieces, or eight?”
“You better make it four. I don’t think I could eat eight”

“It ain’t over till its over”

“You can’t think and hit at the same time”

Even if he didn’t actually say them, he might well have been thinking them. After all, he allegedly admonished a reporter once by complaining, “Don’t write what I said, write what I meant.”

And that, Duke, is the one that made me wonderous.
Plus the sig of a newby who hasn’t shown up here yet.

Of course, Yogi DIDN’T say a lot of those things. For one, the line “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded” was an old joke before Yogi Berra was a major league ballplayer. I see a lot of quotes attributed to him that are provably not his.

Tha Hamburglar has stolen all the T’s and F’s from this post!

Well, 90% half mental makes perfect sense. If 90% is half mental, then the game is 45% mental. The other 45%? Probably being good at the sport physically. The last 10% is probably spirit, or heart, or something crappy like that.

You’ve got that math backwards, bouv. If he’d said “Half the game is ninty percent mental” you’d be right, but it’s the other way 'round. 90% of the game is 50% mental - which means the other 10% of the game may be 100% mental, or not mental at all. What’s left, after we disregard that 10%, is 50% of 90%, or …wait. Nevermind.

Math is hard.

Actually, I’ve heard that sportswriter quote most often attributed to Pedro Guerrero as “Sometimes they write what I say and not what I mean” in response to why he doesn’t like writers.

While Yogi HAS often said some memorably funny things, it gets hard to keep track of which things he REALLY said, which things sportswriters and comedians put in his mouth, and which silly statements have been misattributed to him.

Dan Quayle provides an analogy. There’s no doubt that Quayle said some genuinely dumb things. But after awhile, comics were taking old Polish jokes and turning them into Quayle jokes, or attributing ANY silly statement they’d heard to Quayle. In the same way, back in the Fifties, sportswriters regularly made up silly quotes or recycled old jokes and attributed them to Yogi.

That’s why Yogi wrote (or rather, hired a ghost writer to write) a book entitled “I Didn’t Really Say Everything I Said.”

IMO, one the most profound Yogisms is the one I have in my sig.

Yogi’s book, “I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said,” includes the sayings he actually admits to having said.

Oops, forgot the sig.

My favorite, when a spring training equipment manager asked him his hat size:

“I don’t know yet. I’m out of shape.”

One Yogi story that SOUNDS like a bad joke is, apparently, true… if you believe his son Dale, anyway.

Back in 1984, when I was still living in New York, Yogi was managing the Yankees, and Dale was the Yankees backup 3rd baseman. I remember that reporters asked once Dale about funny things his father said when he was growing up, and he told them, essentially, “I know my Dad is famous for saying funny things, but he never really said funny things around the house. I can only think of ONE incident like that.” Here it is:

When Dale was a kid, his mother Carmen Berra took him and his brother to a movie at Radio City. When we got back home, my Dad was there. He asked where everyone had been, and she told him, "I took the kids to see ‘Dr. Zhivago.’ "

And Yogi said, “Geez, what’s the matter with them THIS time?”

Again,I know this SOUNDS like an old joke recycled, but Dale swore it was true. Of course, LOTS of people will swear on a stack of Bibles that discredited urban legends are true, so who knows?