It Ain’t Over ‘Til Yogi Berra Gets His Medal

This week's White House response gives petition signatories hope.

ShutterstockYogiBerra2003We have to congratulate the White House staffer(s) responsible for Tuesday’s response to a petition demanding that Yankees great Yogi Berra be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Predictably – and wisely – the missive reworked one of Berra’s many famous sayings:

…We can, however, say that throughout his career as a Hall-of-Fame catcher for the New York Yankees and beyond, Yogi Berra has done a lot more than hit and think at the same time…

Nicholos Pugliese, a staff writer with New Jersey newspaper The Record, reminds that among Berra’s many qualifying accomplishments is the fact that has been a friend and supporter of transgender athletes. In this day and age of Caitlyn Jenner, that is especially resonant:

Berra has served as an ambassador for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights through a partnership with an organization called Athlete Ally, which seeks to end homophobia and transphobia in sports. His museum, for example, has a display dedicated to athletes who have broken down barriers — ranging from Jackie Robinson to Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA.

“I think that there are few individuals whose principles have been put into practice as successfully as Yogi’s have,” said Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally’s founder and executive director. “He just has a legacy that I wish my kids would emulate.”

Ground zero for news about the effort to put Yogi on the A train to the White House is the Twitter account of sportswriter Linsday Berra, his granddaughter.

Update (Movember 16):
Berra is among the 17 2015 Medal of Freedom recipients. The ceremony will be held at the White House Nov. 24.
[Photo: Joe Seer/]