WATCH: The Yogi Berra Legacy Will Live On in Commemorative U.S. Postal Forever Stamp
By Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief // June 6, 2021
First Day of Issue stamp event set June 24
WATCH: Highlight video of Yogi Berra’s life produced for his induction into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2009.
The U.S. Postal Service will honor Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and American Icon Yogi Berra with a commemorative Forever stamp. News of the stamp is being shared with hashtags #YogiBerraStamp and #BaseballStamps.
Ron A. Bloom, Chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors; Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General and CEO, U.S. Postal Service; and Bob Costas, Emmy Award-winning sportscaster will be on hand at the at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center on June 24 for the First Day of Issue stamp event.
Beloved by fans across the country, Yogi Berra (1925-2015) was one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time. Berra won a record 10 World Series with the New York Yankees, a record that will never be broken, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
During his career, Berra won three AL MVP awards and was an 18-time MLB All-Star. Considered the best catcher in the American League in the 1950s, he was also a feared hitter, averaging better than .300 four times — finishing with a .285 lifetime average — knocking in 100 runs five times and hitting 358 home runs.
Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with original art by Charles Chaisson. The artist first sketched the image with graphite and pastel oil pencils. He then scanned the image and finished the portrait digitally by applying layers of color to add highlights and detail. Michael Doret designed and created the lettering for “Yogi Berra” in blue script under the image of the player.
The Yogi Berra stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp in panes of 20. These Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1‑ounce price. Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.
SERVED HIS COUNTRY WITH DISTINCTION
Berra’s early professional baseball career was interrupted by WWII. As a 19-year-old U.S. Navy Second Class Seaman Lawrence P. Berra, Yogi played a significant part in the Normandy Invasion.
A gunner’s mate, he was one of a six-man crew on USS Bayfield, a Navy rocket boat, firing machine guns and launching rockets at the German defenses at Omaha Beach. He was fired upon, but was not hit, and later received several commendations for his bravery.
CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE GREATEST CATCHER EVER
Berra is considered by many to be the greatest catcher in baseball history. He played in more World Series games than any other major leaguer, was a three-time American League Most Valuable Player and played in 15 straight All-Star Games.
As a manager, he led both the Yankees and Mets to pennants.
Berra’s prowess on the diamond was celebrated by his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and selection in 1999 as a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, chosen by popular vote of fans.
BELOVED AND OFT-QUOTED AMERICAN ICON
Beyond being one of the greatest players of all time on the field, he was also one of the sport’s most colorful and quotable characters off of it. Berra holds a special place in the American vernacular for famously paradoxical yet witty “Yogi-isms,” phrases which are common in popular culture, including, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” and “It’s deja vu all over again.”
Over the years, my brother Tom and I had the pleasure of spending time with Uncle Yogi and Aunt Carmen both here in Florida during their annual Spring Training trips, and at their home in Montclair, New Jersey.
During one of our trips to Montclair, we were driving back to his house from the museum when he stopped and said, “Right here is the famous fork in the road.”
Tom and I gave each other the puzzled look and asked Yogi what he was talking about. He pointed out to us that the street into his neighborhood ended in a “T” so that you had to go either right or left.
It just so happens that both streets merge after making a wide circle through the neighborhood and Carmen and Yogi’s home was equidistance around the circle from the T.
After the “Aha” moment sunk in, Yogi’s oft-quoted direction to friends coming to his house, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it,” made perfect sense to both of us.
If we add very analytical and logical (in his own way) to modest, genuine, good-hearted and affable, we start to understand why Berra was one of the most beloved and frequently quoted persons of our lifetime – perhaps in history.
INTEGRITY, HUMILITY AND CONTAGIOUS GOOD HUMOR
A statement from the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, New Jersey best describes his life and contribution:
“Yogi conducted his life with unwavering integrity, humility and a contagious good humor that elevated him from baseball legend to beloved national icon. For all his accolades and honors as a player, coach and mentor, he remained completely true to himself – a rare example of authentic character excellence and a lasting role model for his peers, his public, and the thousands of children who visit the YBMLC each year to take part in programs inspired by his values.”