The most joyous 'Yogi Berra' hugs in baseball history
The beloved Yankees catcher made the victory hug a quintessential part of the game's celebration
It was Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Up against the defending champion Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen was on a roll. "He was throwing pretty hard and had a good breaking ball that day," catcher Yogi Berra recalled in a 2012 interview. "Everything was working for him." By the seventh inning Larsen and Berra realized they had something special brewing — to this day, Larsen is the only pitcher to throw a perfect game during a World Series.
After Larsen struck the last Dodgers player out, Berra ran out to the mound and into the pitcher's open arms.
The iconic photo: Yogi Berra leaps into the arms of pitcher Don Larsen on Oct. 8, 1956. | (AP Photo)
Surely, Berra was not the first ballplayer to enjoy the sweaty, victorious embrace of his teammate, and yet the hug is forever linked with the beloved Yankee. Maybe it was his diminutive size, his enthusiasm, or the fact that the game was being broadcast on TV, but the image of Berra wrapped around the lanky Larsen has become one of the most iconic photos in sports history.
In honor of Berra, who died on Sept. 22 at the age of 90, enjoy some of the most endearing photos of pitchers and catchers celebrating in sweet embrace.
Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman and catcher Jerry Grote hug after beating the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, to win the championship in the fifth game of the World Series on Oct. 16, 1969. | (Bettmann/CORBIS)
Pirates pitcher Steve Blass and his catcher, Manny Sanguillen, hug after defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, to win the 1971 World Series on Oct. 17, 1971. | (AP Photo)
New York Yankees closer Goose Gossage leaps into the arms of catcher Thurman Munson after defeating the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, in Game 4 to win the American League Championship Series on Oct. 7, 1978. | (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
New York Mets' catcher Gary Carter leaps into the arms of pitcher Jesse Orosco as they celebrate the Mets victory in the National League Championship Series, Oct. 15, 1986 | (AP Photo/Mike Murphy)
Atlanta Braves catcher Greg Dison jumps into the arms of Braves' pitcher John Smoltz as the Braves celebrate their division-clinching victory on Oct. 5, 1991. | (AP Photo/Joe Marquette)
Atlanta Braves catcher Javier Lopez jumps into the arms of closer Mark Wohlers after winning the World Series on Oct. 28, 1995. | (ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera jumps into the arms of catcher Joe Girardi after beating Cleveland, 9-5, to win the A.L. Championship Series on Oct. 14, 1998. | (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek takes a running start into the arms of pitcher Jonathan Papelbon after beating the Cleveland Indians, 11-2, to win Game 7 of the A.L. Championship Series on Oct. 21, 2007. | (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro leaps into the arms of relief pitcher Grant Balfour after the Rays beat the Chicago White Sox, 6-2, to win Game 4 of the A.L. Championship Series on Oct. 6, 2008. | (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)