Former Yankees

Yogi Berra: a look at some of Yogi’s notable playing seasons

The New York Yankees organization lost a true legend on Tuesday, as Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra passed away at the age of 90.

Yogi Berra was a major contributor on many World Series championship teams, helping the Bronx Bombers win 10 World Series titles during his 18-year career with the team. On his way to a Hall of Fame career, Berra had many productive seasons for the team, as he was named an All-Star in 15 consecutive seasons.

As we mourn the loss of a true legend, let’s take a look back at some of his notable playing seasons during his Yankee career.

Yogi Berra Digging into Pot of Spaghetti

1947: As a 22-year-old utility man, Berra appeared in only 83 games, but it was the first time in his career that he had quality playing time with the big league club. Berra hit .280 during that season, slugging 11 home runs while driving in 54 runs.

Berra contributed to help the Yankees win the World Series during that season, which was his first championship during his historic career.

1948: Earning more playing time behind the plate, Berra started to solidify himself as an All-Star caliber player.

Although the team did not repeat as champions, Berra had an outstanding season, posting a .305 batting average with 14 home runs and 98 RBIs in 125 games.

1951: Smack in the middle of a run where the Yankees won five consecutive World Series titles, Berra earned his first Most Valuable Player Award during the 1951 season.

Yogi played in 141 games that season (all behind the plate), hitting .294 with 27 home runs and 88 RBIs. His 4.8 WAR ranked the highest on the team, and was one of only three players on the roster to have a WAR rating over 4.0.

1954: The Yankees’ championship run ended during the 1954 season, but once again Berra was able to take home another Most Valuable Player Award. The 29-year-old hit .307 during this season, as his 125 RBIs were a career-high for the Hall of Famer.

1955: As the Yankees were back on their path to another World Series appearance, Berra earned some more hardware, winning his final Most Valuable Player Award of his illustrious career.

Three Yankees position players (Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer, and Gil McDougald) had higher WAR ratings during this season, but Berra was able to still win the award, hitting .272 with 27 homers and 108 RBIs in 147 games played.

Although the Yankees lost in the World Series this season, Berra was impressive, as he hit .417 during the team’s postseason run.

1956: You can easily make the case that the 1956 season was Berra’s best statistical season of his career.

Berra hit .298 with a career-high 30 home runs during this season, as the Yankees once again won the World Series. He did not win the Most Valuable Player Award, as his teammate, Mickey Mantle, took home the hardware.

After hitting .352 with 52 home runs during this season, Mantle was the clear choice for the award, as Berra finished second in the voting for the second time in his career.

1961: Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were chasing Babe Ruth‘s single-season home run record during this season, but Berra still put up quality numbers during his age 36 season.

As Elston Howard took over the catching duties, Berra returned to the outfield for the majority of his playing time. Benefitting from hitting in the same lineup as Mantle and Maris, Berra hit .272 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs. This season was the final time in Yogi’s career that he hit 20+ home runs in a season.

1963: This was Yogi’s final playing season in pinstripes. He only appeared in 64 games this season, but was still able to finish with a slash line of .293/.360/.497.

Larsen365375CORBIS

During his 18-year career with the Bronx Bombers, Berra appeared in 2116 regular season games, the most by any catcher in Yankees’ history. He appeared in an astounding 75 career postseason games, and only four franchises in MLB history have played in more World Series games than he did by himself.

In Yankees’ history, Berra has the most runs scored (1174), hits (2148), home runs (358), and RBIs (1430) by any catcher to ever wear the uniform. Although he did spend time as an outfielder throughout his career, Berra played mostly as a catcher, playing in 1699 games behind the plate during his full 19-year career.

Yogi Berra was and will always be a true Yankee legend. He truly will be missed, as the memories he created both on and off the field will truly never be forgotten.

 

 

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