Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Inspirational Yogi

Yogi was, Mr. Barra claims, the greatest winner in American professional sports and the greatest catcher in the history of baseball. The first point is inarguable -- Yogi was the backstop, and backbone, of 10 World Series championships and 14 American League pennant winners between 1947 and 1963. The second point is open to debate, especially from anyone who remembers Johnny Bench in the 1970s, playing for the Cincinnati Reds. In an appendix, Mr. Barra compares a handful of star catchers, examining their batting and fielding performances and applying advanced statistical methods to level their records across differing eras, leagues and ballparks. He doesn't quite succeed in making an incontrovertible case for Yogi's pre-eminence, but he does manage to eliminate even such notable figures as Bill Dickey, Roy Campanella and Mickey Cochrane and to narrow the all-time winner to Berra or Bench.

Read the rest about this new biography here.


Larry Sheldon said...

I am not a hard-core fan, certainly not when it comes to being abl4 to recite stats every which way, but I find it surprising that a discussion of great catchers does not include John Roseboro--who was so good that a Giants pitcher tried to beat him up with a bat.

Joe said...

I'm a fan of Yogi (even Red Sox fans can respect Yankees), but I don't think you can leave Bill Russell out of the discussion of the greatest winners in American sports with 11 championships in 13 years. Book sounds good though.