Remembering Mets History (1965) Yogi Berra Comes Out of Retirement as A Player

In April of 1965 Yogi Berra signed on with the New York Mets as a Player / Coach.

Berra had retired as a player after the 1963 season & was quickly named manager of the A.L. New York team for 1964. Although they finished first, they lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals & Berra was fired. No appreciation given, even after all his years of quality service. 

But as usual, Yogi got the last laugh. The next year without him they finished sixth & would finish in fifth place or lower for the next six years into the early seventies.

The Mets had also signed another future Hall of Famer, veteran pitcher Warren Spahn. He too was at the end of his career. Yogi commented to the press on the two veterans getting together.

Quotes- Yogi Berra: "We may not be the oldest battery mates in history, but we sure are the ugliest."

The Mets manager once again had "his man" on his team. Of all the greats that Casey Stengle had managed, Yogi was his favorite & most reliable, he was the player Casey said he never played a big game without.

Saturday May 1st, 1965: Casey Stengel's Mets (6-11) were on the road to face Dick Sisler's Reds (10-5) in front of just 3,961 fans at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. With the Mets down 8-2 in the top of the 8th inning, Stengel sent up Yogi Berra as a pinch hitter, in the pitcher's spot to face the Reds Sammy Ellis. Berra grounded out to first base ending the inning. He did not stay in the game to catch.

Tuesday May 4th, 1965: Gene Mauch's Philadelphia Phillies (8-10) were in town to face Casey Stengel's Mets (7-13) in front of 17,321 at Shea Stadium. For the first time since 1962 Yogi Berra was behind the plate in the catcher's position. On this night, Berra was battery mate to Al Jackson & batting in the seventh position.

In the Mets 1st inning, Johnny Lewis singled & scored on an Ed Kranepool single & Phillies error. Joe Christopher drew a walk & Yogi Berra came up to bat. Yogi collected his first it since September 1963, a single to center field off Ray Hebert. Unfortunately for the Mets Christopher was thrown out at third base to end the inning. The crowd cheered for Yogi.

Al Jackson pitched a fine game, keeping the score at 1-0 to the 7th inning. That inning, Yogi Berra led off with a base hit off Gary Wagner, his second hit of the game. 

Ron Swoboda then singled to left field, moving Berra to second. Roy McMillan then singled to center & Berra scampered home to make it 2-0. The run also turned out to be the games winning run as the Mets won it 2-1. 

Quite a day for Mr. Berra who was about to turn forty the following week. The hits & the run scored were the last of his career.

Wednesday May 5th 1965: In this game the Phillies Jim Bunning out dueled the Mets Warren Spahn in a 1-0 pitching classic. Berra had another 8th inning pinch hit at bat, grounding out to first base.

Sunday May 9th, 1965: On this Mother's Day double header, Bobby Bragan's Milwaukee Braves (10-9) came to Shea Stadium to play Casey Stengel's Mets (8-15). 

Today Yogi Berra would get another start behind the plate as catcher & batting in the seventh position. Berra went 0-4 on the day, grounding out to second base in his last career at bat in the 9th inning. It would be the last game Berra would play as he hung them up for good as a player & resumed coaching.

Berra would finish the year 2-9 with a .222 average, one run scored in four games. Two runners stole bases on him as well.

The Mets took an 8-2 loss tin the game, led by HRs from Joe Torre, Mack Jones & Dennis Menke. The two Mets runs were scored on RBI singles by Roy McMillan & Danny Napoleon.

Yogi Berra would remain a coach with the Mets for the next seven years, before becoming team Manager in 1972. He would be the Mets Manager from 1972 to August 1975.


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