Born Lawrence Peter Berra in St. Louis, Mo., Berra left school after the eighth grade and went on to play minor league baseball before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After being passed over by the St. Louis Cardinals, he made his major league debut with the Yankees in 1946, hitting a home run in his first at-bat.
Throughout his 19-year professional career as a catcher, Berra was a three-time MVP of the American League and a 15-time All Star. He also holds the record for playing in more World Series games than any other major league player. He was also known for his witticisms, many of which became part of modern parlance, including "It ain't over 'til it's over." The cartoon character Yogi Bear was named after him.
After he retired in 1963, Berra coached and/or managed the Yankees, the New York Mets and the Houston Astros, winning World Series titles with both New York teams. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, the same year his No. 8 was retired by the Yankees.
Berra was fired as manager of the Yankees in 1984 and famously said he would never return to Yankee Stadium because of the way team owner George Steinbrenner handled his ouster. But Steinbrenner personally apologized to Berra in the late '90s, and through recent years, Berra was often seen at Yankees games and in the team's clubhouse.
In 1998, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center opened on Montclair State University's campus in Upper Montclair, N.J.
Berra is survived by three sons. His wife, Carmen, died in 2014, shortly after they celebrated their 65th anniversary.
The Yankees and the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center shared news of Berra's passing on Twitter early Wednesday:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a Yankees legend and American hero, Yogi Berra. pic.twitter.com/Bf8uXxUPzR— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 23, 2015