The country said goodbye to baseball legend Yogi Berra yesterday after the man know for his Yogi-isms like “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” died at the age of 90.
WNYW sports anchor Russ Salzberg had a special connection to Berra. He’s been meeting regularly with the former Yankee catcher for the last year-and-a-half.
He talked to the New York Daily News about their last meeting. “When I walked out of the room I had the feeling it was the last time I was ever going to see him,” Salzberg said.
Ever since Berra’s wife Carmen died in March, 2014, Salzberg visited Yogi every Saturday at the Jersey nursing home where he resided. And when he couldn’t make it on Saturday, Salzberg would show up on Sunday. They talked baseball, life, cracked jokes, and more baseball. These visits would always be sealed with a kiss on Berra’s forehead. Sometimes, Salzy would even lift the Yankees cap off Yogi’s head before the smooch.
Salzberg made those visits because “that’s what friends are for.”
They were friends for 27 years, sharing dinner dates with their wives, ever since Salzberg arrived on the scene at Ch. 9 in 1988 slinging Brooklynese and wearing eye-popping, multi-colored sweaters on the air. Salzberg was thinking about those beginnings Tuesday when he went to visit Yogi.
“A lot of people are going to talk today about ‘It’s not over until it’s over’ and all the other Yogi-isms and the 10 rings. They are all just really a morsel of what this guy was,” Salzberg said. “The mark of this man, how he can be judged, is the depth of his heart, how he treated all people. I saw this over the past 18 months. I carefully watched how he treated his aides, the people who took care of him. It was much more than just kindness. He treated them like best friends. He made them feel like royalty.”