My Dad and Yogi Berra

Both baseball catchers. Both recruited out of high school by Branch Rickey for the Cardinals. Both fought in WWII in the invasion of southern France. Both indifferent students. Dad came back from the war convinced that “Harbaugh, you are an ignorant man” so he applied to graduate school at Columbia, the day after the ticker-tape parade. The admissions chair decided on the spot that a Croix de Guerre outweighed an undistinguished undergraduate record. Yogi Berra did pretty well too.

The obituary of William Henry Harbaugh, 1920-2005, is here. The obituary of Yogi Berra, 1925-2015, is here.

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2 Responses to My Dad and Yogi Berra

  1. Pepper Martin says:

    I’m not believing that letter. I assume you have it framed like it was the Declaration of Independence! What an incredible heirloom. Damn, wish he’d signed it, but whatever.

    BTW – as everyone knows, Rickey signed Jackie Robinson in 1945 who became the first AA in the big leagues. The thought of this first occured to Rickey 40 years earlier when he was a grad student and asst baseball coach at an Ohio college; he had a black player who was refused a room at an Indiana hotel on a road trip. That incident stuck with Rickey. Forty years later …

    • uomatters says:

      Yes, it’s just a copy, typed out by Dad (or maybe his dad) in the days before scanners. We don’t know what happened to the original. I think he gave it to his mother and father. I would have. Maybe the Cardinals have archives, but in my experience that’s just trouble.

      And thanks for the Jackie Robinson connection, which Dad brought up every time he could. It’s of the few things I know about baseball!

      Somewhere we’ve also got a picture of his battalion playing a game in Sicily.

      And your question prompted me to check google, which yielded this on the Cardinals camp, from the 1937 Sarasota Herald-Tribune:,6604599&hl=en

      $60 Tuition? Good thing Rickey gave Harbaugh a scholarship.

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