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Yogi Berra: Baseball's greatest winner

Yogi Berra stands at home plate before the

Yogi Berra stands at home plate before the last game at the old Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. Photo Credit: David L. Pokress

There's a reason the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Montclair, New Jersey, exists, and it's not simply because he had a charming way with words. Lawrence Peter Berra was the greatest winner in baseball history, and one of the game's greatest players.

At just 5-foot-7, Berra improbably stood tall while playing alongside the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. By the time he'd completed his fifth full season in the majors in 1951, the 26-year-old Berra was the American League MVP as the Yankees won their fourth World Series since his arrival.

And that was just the beginning. Berra was consistently great for the powerful Yankees from 1950 through 1956. He hit .295 over that period, swatting 191 home runs and driving in 756 runs. The baseball world recognized his greatness, awarding him AL MVP honors three times in that span -- he finished second twice, third once and fourth the other year, too. Oh, and the Yankees won five out of seven World Series during those years.

By the time Berra called it a career, he'd won 10 World Series rings -- one for every finger, and more than any player before or since.

And that's just the rings earned from his playing days. He was a coach in Queens for the Miracle Mets in 1969, and served the same role for the Yankees during the Bronx Zoo days as team won championships in 1977 and 1978. That's 13 in all.

New York loves a winner, and there existed no greater winner in the Big Apple's proud athletic history than Yogi Berra.

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