Profiles of Valor
Arguably the greatest catcher in baseball history, Lorenzo Pietro “Yogi” Berra was born to Italian immigrants in the Italian section of St. Louis known as “The Hill” on May 12, 1925. Jack McGuire, a childhood friend and future Major League Baseball player, gave Berra the now-famous nickname of “Yogi” because of the way Berra sat with his arms and legs crossed, reminding him of a Hindu man from a movie he had seen. Over the course of his life, Berra would go on to become not only one of the greatest baseball players our country has ever seen, but one of the many heroes of World War II.
On the baseball diamond, Berra’s accomplishments are unparalleled. Over the course of his 19-year MLB career, Berra was an 18-time All-Star, a three-time Most Valuable Player and a 10-time World Series champion with the New YorkYankees. Berra also caught Don Larsen’s perfect game
– the only one in postseason history - during the 1956 World Series. Following his playing career, Berra won three more World Series championships as a manager. In 1972, the Yankees retired his jersey number, 8, and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1999, Berra was named to the MLB All-Century team. Additionally, Berra was the inaugural Hall of Fame recipient of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award in 2013.
On the field of battle, Berra’s heroism was undeniable. A Seaman Second Class in the United States Navy from 1944-1945, Berra served on the USS Bayfield. He manned a machine gun amid heavy enemy fire as a gunner’s mate onboard a Landing Craft Support (LCS) missile boat during the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 and later took part in Operation Dragoon, the allied invasion of southern France. Berra was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation, two battle stars, and a European Theater of Operations ribbon. In 2009, the U.S. Navy honored Berra with the Lone Sailor Award, and he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in2015. Yogi Berra was both a world class baseball player and a patriot.