A great player, meaning truly, what, uber-great. He is in the conversation for the best catcher in major league history, certainly in the top three. If you crunch numbers, if you count leadership for winningest teams ever, he’s almost impossible to top, and for me he’s at the top. (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-extraordinary-journey-of-yogi-berra-14430313450)
A great teammate, universally respected and loved by his teammates, for his incredible mind (yep, he was the smartest guy on the field), for his other incredible gifts and skills, for his fiercely competitive nature, and, yes, for his generous-spirit to, well, pretty much everyone, including all those teammates all those years, not something most superstars are known for (http://www.wltx.com/story/news/2015/09/23/former-teammate-and-sumter-native-reflects-yogi-berra/72718942/; http://www.sfgate.com/giants/shea/article/Yogi-Berra-dies-at-90-a-teammate-remembers-6523454.php)
A leader in embracing (no, not just tolerating) the first and the early players of color – he was their friend, their ally, their supporter against all haters. (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C05EEDA113AF93AA25751C0A9639C8B63)
A smart and principled and savvy man, one who just shrugged off the gazillion Yogi stories, not needing to prove how deeply intelligent and wise he was (http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2015/sep/23/a-gay-rights-advocate-and-businessman-yogi-berra-was-more-than-a-loveable-dope)
A friend for the ages, the kind who way late in life went daily (yes, daily) to play cards and hang out with his old ballplaying buddy, the great Phil Rizzuto, who was living in a senior home, forgotten by most others (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/one-of-the-greatest-yogi-berra-stories-you-might-not-have-heard-193333507.html)
A leader in joining LGBT groups in pushing for open acceptance of gay athletes (http://www.advocate.com/sports/2015/9/23/yogi-berra-baseball-legend-and-lgbt-ally-dead-90)
As a kid, I got to see him play. Later, as an adult, I sure wish I could have hung with him some. What a joy that would have been.
As The Beatles wrote and sang, the love you make is equal to the love you take. RIP Yogi.