THE BRONX — Well, the future ain't what it used to be.
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra, the Yankees' legendary catcher known for his backwards witticisms, died at the age of 90 — 69 years to the day after his debut for the Bronx Bombers, officials said.
"Yogi conducted his life with unwavering integrity, humility and a contagious good humor that elevated him from baseball legend to beloved national icon. He will be missed," the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center posted on Instagram.
Berra began his career with the Yankees on Sept. 22, 1946, at the age of 21, and quickly distinguished himself for both his stunning play and colorful personality.
"He swung at a lot of pitches that were not strikes but mashed them anyway," The New York Times wrote.
"He was fearsome in the clutch and the most durable and consistently productive Yankee during the period of the team’s most relentless success," the newspaper added.
Berra, who served in World War II, helped win the World Series 10 of the 14 times his teams appeared there.
After the Yankees, he went on to play for the Mets, but retired in 1965.
He later managed both teams but then left for Houston, where he coached the Astros from 1985 until his retirement in 1989.
Berra is survived by his three sons, Tim, Lawrence and Dale, who also played in the major leagues.
In The Bronx, near Yankee Stadium, fans were saddened by his death and said they would remember Berra for his personality as well as for his athletic accomplishments.
"He was a go-getter," said Dwayne Tankersley, a 53-year-old Yankee fan and mental health counselor. "What I liked about him was that he spoke his mind and stood up for what he believed in, never let things discourage him too much."
Carl Champen, a 38-year-old tour guide at the ballpark, described Berra's genuine and earnest character as his most enduring quality and one that people would try living up to.
"There were no gray areas with him. It was just what you see is what you get," he said. "I think that's probably the best legacy he'll leave in my eyes."
While many people will surely repeat his timeless Yogi-isms, Berra offered a warning: "I really didn't say everything I said."