The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
How Tom Brady and the Patriots are like Yogi Berra and the Yankees

Tom Brady did it again.  Won his record-setting sixth Super Bowl with the New England Patriots by defeating the Los Angeles Rams.  Just when we think the 41-year-old signal caller could be hanging up his cleats, he does it again.  Perhaps he’s correct when he says he plans to play until he’s 45 years old.

Brady has been the main factor in the Patriots reaching the playoffs repeatedly since 2001.  With the exception of 2002 and 2008, the New Englanders have finished in first place in the AFC East Division.  During his 18 years, the Brady-led Patriots missed going to the AFC Championship Game only five times.  This year was the Pats’ ninth trip to the Super Bowl since Brady’s been with them.  This is indeed the definition of a dynasty.  New England coach Bill Belichick, of course, gets credit for being the master-mind behind this superior franchise, but Brady has been the one constant on the field throughout the term.

The Patriots and Brady remind us of a baseball dynasty of yesteryear that had similar results and impact on its sport.  The New York Yankees have actually had several periods of dynasty status, but the one most closely resembling the Patriots occurred during 1947 to 1964, when Yogi Berra was one of the core players.

Berra made his major-league debut with the Yankees in 1946 (playing in seven games) after having served in the Army in 1944 and 1945 during World War II.  After playing as a reserve in 1947, he broke into the Yankees’ lineup as the regular catcher the next season.

During Berra’s 18 major-league seasons with the Yankees, they won the American League pennant every year except 1946, 1948, 1954 and 1959.  The Yankees won the World Series in 10 of those seasons.  The Yankees’ dynasty also included a World Championship in 1964 after Berra had retired.

Like Brady with the Patriots, Berra was one of a few constants on the Yankees roster during their pennant-winning stretch, along with pitcher Whitey Ford and outfielder Mickey Mantle who also played critical roles on many of those teams.  Casey Stengel was the Bill Belichick of his day, as the Yankees manager from 1949 to 1960.

During the years 1950 to 1956, Berra captured three American League MVP Awards (1951, 1954, 1955), while also finishing second (1953, 1956), third (1950), and fourth (1952) in the voting.  He was selected to the All-Star team in 15 consecutive seasons.

Brady equals Berra in regular season MVP honors, with three to his credit (2007, 2010, and 2017).  Plus, the quarterback was the MVP of the Super Bowl four times (2001, 2003, 2014, and 2016).  He was selected for the Pro Bowl 14 times.

Berra was generally regarded as the best catcher ever to play major league baseball until Johnny Bench came along in the late 1960s.  Brady has earned the distinction of best quarterback in NFL history. 

Brady was a left-handed hitting catcher in high school, good enough to be selected by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft.  Berra never played football, although his son, Tim, did play one season with the Baltimore Colts.

Although they were comparable in their impact to their respective teams and sport, no one would ever confuse Tom Brady with Yogi Berra from a physical standpoint.  Brady is the Adonis-looking, 6-foot-4 superior athlete, while the 5-foot-7 Berra could have been easily mistaken for the clubhouse equipment manager.

Brady and Berra are not athletes who are normally associated together, but they are both big-time players on some big-time teams.


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