Nearly 70 years after Yogi Berra made his major league debut, Montclair State University is left mourning his death. Although his passing is a tragedy to everyone whose lives he had touched, his legacy will forever live on at Montclair State University through the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and Yogi Berra Stadium, home of the Jackals minor-league baseball team.
The Montclair State community has been extremely fortunate to have had been able to form bonds with such an amazing man.
Although many news outlets have noted Berra’s remarkable baseball achievements, our campus community has been lucky enough to have had a deeper understanding of who Berra really was. He was so much more outside the world of baseball statistics and World Series rings.
The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, which was created in 1998, acts as a permanent memorial to Berra. Kevin Peters, Trustee and Interim CEO of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, said in a press release that the museum “houses a remarkable collection of sports memorabilia illustrating the rich history of baseball and Yogi’s career. But the essence of the museum is not stuff; it’s the exemplary life of the man who inspired us.”
The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center commits itself to teaching K-12 students respect, teamwork, perseverance and overall excellence, the traits which Berra exhibited in his lifetime.
Berra loved the Museum and Learning Center named in his honor. He even celebrated his last birthday there. He enjoyed spending his time at the museum, telling his stories to those who yearned for more knowledge.
“Education was hugely important to Yogi. He was all about giving kids the best chance for success,” said Peters. Today, Berra’s spirt continues to live on as the Museum and Learning Center prepares to introduce their statistical and mathematical analysis on sports’ records program for STEM students as well as a program for younger individual to hone in on their leadership skills.
Lindsay Berra, Berra’s granddaughter, stated “I’ve been so lucky because he taught me so much about those things – about teamwork and respect and about being a good person. If everybody tried to be one one-hundredth of the person that [this man was], the world would be a [much] better place.”
Those who knew Berra agreed, describing him as a dedicated family-man, a life-long friend and a good-humored comedian, in his own right.
Throughout Berra’s long life, he has proven himself to be a role model to all within the Montclair State University community. Everything he stood for should be emulated in our everyday lives.
Although his Museum and Learning Center seeks to educate K-12 students, they teach lessons that everyone can take home with them. Everyone should respect each person they come into contact with, as Berra did. We should learn how to work in a team to produce positive outcomes and when times are tough, we should try just that much harder to do our best. Overall, we should all follow Berra’s example to strive for excellence in every aspect of our lives.
In Berra’s 1972 Hall of Fame induction speech, he said, “I want to thank baseball. It has given me more than I could have ever hoped for and [I hope] that when I’m through with this game, I will put something back.”
Since 1972, Berra has definitely given back to baseball, but his love for young people has allowed him to give even more back to everyone at Montclair State University.
Susan Cole speaks for the entire Montclair State University community when she says, “Yogi Berra was truly an inspiration to generations of sports fans. While he will be sorely missed, his legacy will live on at Montclair State.”