New York Yankees great Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, a beloved player and personality, died Tuesday at the age of 90.
Berra’s accomplishments on the field throughout his 19-year career are well-known and celebrated. He won 10 World Series rings with the Yankees as a player, three World Series rings as a coach (in 1969 with the New York Mets; in 1977 and 1978 with the Yankees), hit 358 career home runs (305 as a catcher; fourth-most for the position all-time), was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and caught Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
His catchphrases — referred to as “Yogi-isms” — also made him a beloved character off the field. The man who said things like, “It ain’t over til it’s over,” “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” and “You can observe a lot by just watching” won all baseball fans over, regardless of their team affiliation.
But what fans of the catcher may not remember are his ties to footwear.
Aside from working in a shoe factory prior to playing baseball, Berra was a pitchman for casual footwear brand PF Flyers. He appeared in ads for the brand in the 1950s and endorsed its shoes, along with other MLB legends Stan Musial, Phil Rizzuto, Ted Williams and Roy Campanella.
Berra also appeared in commercials for onetime shoe manufacturer and retailer Kinney Shoes. Kinney released a commercial with Berra in 1987 that had the baseball icon stopping to sign an autograph for a young fan, who wore shoes that caught Berra’s eye.
Berra is considered by many baseball historians and writers alike as the greatest catcher to ever play the game.