A very bizarre move– On October 17, 1964 the New York Yankees fired their manager Yogi Berra. What was bizarre about this? Managers get fired all the time. Here is the thing- in Yogi’s rookie season as manager the Yankees won the American League pennant – with a record of 99-63. In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals- they lost to the Cardinals in seven games. Two days after the World Series ended Berra was shown the door. Who did the Yankees hire as their new manager? The manager who just beat them Johnny Keane.
Yogi Berra was a Yankee immortal. He played for the team from 1946-1963. One of the greatest catchers of all time. Yogi Berra was an 18 time all-star. Berra was a key part of ten Yankee World Championships.Yogi as a player ten World Series rings- the most of any player in baseball history. When Yankee manager Casey Stengel was asked what the key to the Yankees success was he said: “I never go into a game without my man.’- who was his man? He didn’t mean Mickey Mantle- he meant Yogi Berra.
As it turned out- firing Yogi was actually a break for Yogi. While the Yankees went to the World Series in 1964- and came within a game of yet another championship- they were about to enter a dozen years of darkness -the so -called ‘Horace Clarke Era.’ The team was aging – in 1965 they would fall to 6th place- with a 77-85 record and then in 1966 the unthinkable- last place. The Yankees wouldn’t return to a World Series until 1976. Yogi got out of The Bronx just in time.
A month after he was fired he was hired as a coach by the other team in town. The New York Mets- under Yogi’s old manager Casey Stengel signed Yogi to a 2 year contract as a coach. Yogi would remain as a coach with the Mets- until the untimely passing of Mets manager Gil Hodges just prior to the 1972 season. Yogi replaced Hodges as Mets manager- and in 1973 took them to the World Series- where they lost to Oakland in seven games.
A couple days ago history kind of repeated itself in reverse. After the 2021 the Mets fired their manager Luis Rojas. The Yankees have hired Rojas as their third base coach for 2022.