Yankees great Yogi Berra died Sept. 22 at age 90, the day Pope Francis made his first visit to the United States. On today’s front pages — particularly in St. Louis and New York — Berra was the only man in America who could overshadow the pope’s three-day visit to Washington.
In St. Louis, where he was born and raised, and in New York, where he was revered, Berra was front and center on Page One.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave its hometown hero the star treatment, recalling Berra’s childhood growing up in the city’s Italian section known as “The Hill,” the Cardinals’ failure to sign him, and the day Berra met Pope John XXIII in Rome in 1959.
In an inside tribute, the Post-Dispatch excerpted an interview Berra gave to Sports Illustrated about his papal meeting:
Reporter: “I understand you had an audience with the Pope.”
Yogi: “No, but I saw him.”
Reporter: “Did you get to talk to him?”
Yogi: “I sure did. We had a nice little chat.”
Reporter: “What did he say?”
Yogi: “You know, he must read the papers a lot, because he said, ‘Hello, Yogi.’”
Reporter: “And what did you say?”
Yogi: “I said, ‘Hello, Pope.’”
Berra’s quotes have become part of the American lexicon, most notably the often-quoted, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Both the New York Daily News and the New York Post chose the saying for their headlines.
“Sadly, It’s Over,” said the Daily News in a play on Berra’s words. The New York Post, which is known for its witty and provocative headlines, played the story straight and used the exact quote.
Newsday and AM New York gave the pope and Berra equal billing on their front pages, with Berra edging out the pope in prominence on the cover of AM New York.
Wonder what Berra would have said about that?