I picked up the most recent copy of Sports Illustrated a couple of days ago. I rarely pay much attention to the cover, but this particular one enticed and would not let go.
It was a picture of Yogi Berra taken in his prime as a New York Yankee catcher, highlighted with the singular American beauty of a Rockwell portrait.
One knee scraped the ground, the other one upright. The chest protector was paper-thin with the faded mark of “Spalding” in the top left hand corner. The leg guards were equally humble. So was the face mask.
I don’t know why the picture got to me. Maybe I was just in a mood of syrup-stricken nostalgia, but what I saw was the portrait of a hero who not only played the game with relentless competitiveness but was also one of sport’s greatest characters with the witticisms that floated out of his mouth.
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