We lost Yogi on September 22nd, but are reminded of his accomplished life at almost every turn. Today is the 64th anniversary of the first of Yogi Berra’s three American League MVP awards. And like everything connected to the man, there’s a great story behind it. Hell, The History Channel even weighs in on this one:
On November 8, 1951, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra is voted the American League’s most valuable player for the first time in his career. St. Louis Browns’ ace pitcher and slugger Ned Garver almost won the award — in fact, a representative from the Baseball Writers Association of America phoned him and told him that he had won it — but after a recount it turned out that Berra had edged Garver out by a nose.
Maybe not by a nose as the final tally was Yogi’s 184 total points to Ned Garver’s 157 — but a footnote to the 1951 vote that has been overlooked was Yankee pitcher Allie Reynolds, who hurled two no-hitters, finished third with 125 points, just 10 percentage points behind Garver.
Reynolds tossed his first no-no on July 12th, defeating his former Cleveland Indians 1-0, and pitched his second on Septmeber 28th — an 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox, which clinched a tie for the American League pennant in the first game of a double-header, and the Yankees sealed the deal in the nightcap.
The Bronx Bombers had a handful of others who garnered a respectable share of votes that year —
Yogi played his last game on May 9th, 1965, going 0-4 as starting catcher for the New York Mets in a 8-2 loss to the Milwaukee Braves at Shea Stadium. A footnote of interest — the staring catcher for the Braves that day was none other than Joe Torre.
From the legions of fans that cross geography and generations who adored Yogi, continued thoughts and prayers are with the Berra family.