Yogi Berra? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: An entertaining tale states that baseball great Yogi Berra was once honored at a ceremony extolling his athletic skills. He knew of his obligation to give a speech after the receipt of the accolades and gifts, and his prepared remarks included a statement thanking everyone for making the event possible. But he became tongue-tied and said a line similar to one of these:
- I thank all of you for making this night necessary.
- Thanks to all you fans who made this day necessary.
- Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for making this day necessary.
Is this anecdote accurate? Do you know what Yogi actually said?
Quote Investigator: Substantive evidence supports the truth of this story. An article in the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” specified a date of June 6, 1947 for “Yogi Berra Night” honoring the Yankee baseball player in St. Louis. 1 Less than a week later on June 12, 1947 “The New York Times” printed a piece by the sports columnist Arthur Daley that included an instance of the quotation. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 2
The Yankee players still are discussing delightedly the speech of thanks the sheepish Yogi made in St. Louis, his home town, when the fans held a “Yogi Berra Night” for him. The embarrassed Yogi grabbed the microphone, shuffled uneasily for a moment and blurted, “I wanna thank everyone for making this night necessary.”
The ceremony occurred in Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. Later citations disagreed about the name of the event; some called it “Yogi Berra Night” and others called it “Yogi Berra Day”; however, as noted previously, contemporary newspapers in St. Louis revealed that the correct name was “Yogi Berra Night”.
The precise phrasing employed by Yogi has been difficult to ascertain because the statements in subsequent citations have varied. Nevertheless, based on the event name one may conclude that the correct quotation contained the phrase “night necessary” instead of “day necessary”.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.