It has been one year since the passing of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, and the memories and legacy of Yogi continue to fill the hearts of baseball fans and loved ones everywhere.
To help bring to light just how much he truly meant, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University, held a special open house on Sept. 25 commemorating the one year anniversary of Yogi’s death.
David Kaplan, the director of programs at the Yogi Berra Museum thought of the idea as a way for people to participate in activities and for generations to come together to share their memories of Yogi. Kaplan also explained how much Yogi would have cared to see the event take place.
“We were really touched by this outpouring of all the love and all the remembrance of him,” Kaplan said. “So many people loved him. He touched so many lives. He would have loved this.”
Lindsay Berra, MLB.com writer and granddaughter of Yogi, explained that since her grandfather’s passing, the entire family has received an outpouring of love and support from the community. Lindsay explained that having events like this is what keeps Yogi’s legacy alive, and the family loves to be a part of it.
“As the one year anniversary was coming up, we were thinking about it as a family, and we wanted to open the doors and let people come and share their memories,” Lindsay said. “[Yogi] meant a lot of things to a lot of people, and the museum is a place for people to come and remember him.”
The event featured Yogi’s top 40 greatest moments compiled by MLB Network in the theater room, a baseball and softball clinic for young players, a performance by the Yankee Stadium organist and even a young kid by the name of Billy Cook.
Cook is the founder of Billy’s Baseballs, an organization that has people write inspiring messages on baseballs and send them oversees to men and women in the military. Cook explained that he was very touched by Yogi because of the player he was on and off the field and that Yogi’s past in the military hits close to home.
“Yogi was a great player. He was a leader. He was a great guy,” said Cook. “He really cared. It was an honor for me to come and do this at his museum.”
One year after his passing, fans of the New York Yankees and fans of baseball as a whole still mourn the loss of Yogi and attend the museum to pay their respects.
“I saw the advertisement on Facebook and I thought it would be a great thing to do to check out the museum on the anniversary of his death,” said Robert Fabbri, a die-hard Yankees fan. “It is always sad when somebody like Yogi passes away. We were lucky to have him as long as we did. He meant so much to the game.”
Lindsay explained that the love for Yogi is so strong because he always put others first, and even though he was famous, he never carried that persona.
“He treated you like you were the most important person in the room,” said Lindsay.
Kaplan felt inspired to carry on Yogi’s legacy more then ever after his passing, explaining that Yogi always did right by everyone and he wants to do right by him.