Dec 11, 2014

Former Italian /American Player: Yogi's Kid- Dale Berra (1977-19887)

Dale Anthony Berra was born December 13, 1956 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Dale is the son of Hall of Famer; Yogi Berra. He attended Montclair High School & was a highly sought out prospect, getting signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1975 in the 20th round.

At the age of 20 he was brought up in August 1977 playing in 17 games batting just .175.

Berra would be a reserve third baseman & short stop in Pittsburgh for five seasons, before becoming their regular short stop in 1982. That year he had career highs, as he batted .263 with 10 HRs 25 doubles 64 runs scored & 61 RBIs. At short he committed 30 errors second most in the league & would repeat that the next season.

He had 10 more HRs the next year, but his average was falling & by 1984 he was hitting just .222 with 9 HRs 52 RBIs in 136 games. In December of 1984 he was Traded along with Jay Buhner to the A.L. New York team for Tim Foli, Steve Kemp and cash.

Yogi Berra had been the teams manager since the start of the ’84 season, & Dale became the first son to play for his father in the majors since Earle Mack played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1937 &1939 under Connie Mack. In 48 games he batted .229 playing mostly at third base behind Mike Pagliarulo.

Drama: In the September 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials, Berra testified & admitted he used cocaine as a player in Pittsburgh. He said he used along with Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Lee Lacy & Rod Scurry in the Pirate locker room.

He said he was using a lot of cocaine in 1984 when he got injured. The Berra name had now been blemished & Dale’s career was never going to peak.

In order to avoid a suspension MLB Commissioner; Peter Ueberroth  allowed him to donate 10% of his salary & commit time to drug programs.

By 1986 he was seeing more action at short stop, getting more starts. He got off to a good start, batting over .300 until his father; Yogi got fired as the teams manager. After that move, Dale saw less playing time, only batting .231 with two HRs &13 RBIs in 42 games, getting released in July.

Dale signed with the Houston Astros that August where his dad Yogi was now coaching. He would not play on the '86 Astros  NL Western Champion team, but saw action in 19 games in 1987. He only batted. 178 & was released ending his 11 season career.

Dale Berra played in 853 games, with 603 hits 109 doubles 49 HRs 278 RBIs & a .236 batting average. He played more games than any other Hall of Famer's son topping Dick Sisler's 799.

Retirement: In 1989 he was indicted in a drug raid that distributed cocaine in Northern New Jersey including his home area of Essex County. In 1990 he ran a construction outfit in Cranford, NJ.

Family: His brother Larry at one time played in the Mets organization & his other brother Tim played football for the Baltimore Colts in 1974. He played in all 14 games as a punt & kick returner.

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