Dale Berra

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Dale Berra
Shortstop, Third Baseman
Born: (1956-12-13) December 13, 1956 (age 57)
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 22, 1977 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1987 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average .236
Home runs 49
Runs batted in 278
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • World Series Champion (1979)
  • Set record for reaching base on catcher's interference (7, 1983)[1]

Dale Anthony Berra (born December 13, 1956) is an American former Major League Baseball player who primarily played as an infielder from 1977 to 1987. He is the son of Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra and brother of former Baltimore Colts return specialist Tim Berra.

Early years[edit]

Dale was named in after Dale Mitchell, who had made the final out in Don Larsen's perfect game two months earlier, taking a called strike three which was caught by Yogi.[2]

Berra was a highly sought prospect upon his graduation from Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey.[citation needed] He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the twentieth overall pick in the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft, and made his major league debut on August 22, 1977 at only twenty years old.[3]

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

Berra was a member of the 1979 World Series champion Pirates, though he did not receive an at-bat in the post season. A third baseman in the minor leagues, Berra earned playing time at third, second and shortstop his first five seasons in the majors before being handed the starting shortstop job in 1982. That season, he enjoyed career highs in batting average (.263), hits (139), runs scored (64) and runs batted in (61).

New York Yankees[edit]

Yogi Berra was named manager of the Yankees prior to the start of the 1984 season. Following the season, the Yankees acquired the younger Berra, along with Jay Buhner and Alfonso Pulido for Steve Kemp and Tim Foli, whom Berra had replaced as the Pirates starting shortstop. Dale became the first son to play for his father in the major leagues since Earle Mack appeared in a total of 125 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1937 and 1939 under Connie Mack.[citation needed] Dale was batting .343 until his father was fired sixteen games into the 1985 season and replaced by Billy Martin. Under Martin, Dale was returned to a back-up infielder role, and his batting average fell to .229 for the season.

The most notable play of Berra's career was a bizarre baserunning gaffe which also involved Bobby Meacham in an 11-inning 6–5 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 2, 1985. With Meacham and Berra the runners at second and first base respectively in the seventh inning of a game tied at three, Rickey Henderson hit a ball that rolled to the farthest reaches of left-center field. When Meacham slipped between second and third base, both runners ended up approaching home plate in synchronized fashion, one on the heels of the other. After catching the relay throw from shortstop Ozzie Guillén, catcher Carlton Fisk tagged out Meacham to his right, then turned to his left just a split second later to do the same to Berra to complete the double play. Martin commented, "I've never seen that in grammar school, much less a major-league game."[4]

Pittsburgh drug trials[edit]

On September 9, 1985,[5] Berra testified during the cocaine distribution trial of Curtis Strong that he shared cocaine with other members of the Pirates.[6]

On February 28, 1986 Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth suspended several players including Berra. The suspensions were waived with a commitment for community service and a donation of 10% of the salary for one year.

Houston Astros[edit]

Lou Piniella was named the Yankees' manager in 1986 and Berra was released on July 27. Shortly afterwards, he was signed by the Houston Astros where Yogi Berra was a coach. Dale spent the rest of the 1986 season with Houston's triple-A affiliate.

After spending most of 1987 with triple-A Tucson, Berra debuted with the Astros on August 15. He batted .178 in 19 games for the Astros, and was released at the end of the season. He spent the 1988 season in the Baltimore Orioles' system before retiring.

Personal life[edit]

In April 1989, Berra was charged with cocaine possession.[7] After a three-year pre-trial intervention program, the charges were dismissed.[8]

In 1990, Berra was running a construction company in Cranford, New Jersey.[9] Dale Berra is now one of the principals of LTD Enterprises, which controls to brand image of his father.[10]

Berra played more games than any son of a Hall-of-Famer, topping Dick Sisler (853 to 799). His older brother, Larry, played briefly in the New York Mets organization,[11] and his older brother, Tim, played with the Baltimore Colts in 1974.[12]

Seasons Games AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO Avg. Slg. Fld%
11 853 2553 236 603 109 9 49 278 32 210 422 .236 .344 .956

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dale Berra from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. 
  2. ^ Araton, Harvey. Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift (Mariner Books, 2013), p.87.
  3. ^ "San Diego Padres 1, Pittsburgh Pirates 0". Baseball-reference.com. 1977-08-22. 
  4. ^ "Bizarre play dooms Yankees," The Associated Press, Saturday, August 3, 1985.
  5. ^ "Sport: The Cocaine Agonies Continue". Time Magazine. 1985-09-23. 
  6. ^ "Dale Berra Tells of Drug Use". Gainesville Sun. 1985-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Dale Berra Is Indicted". New York Times. 1989-08-25. 
  8. ^ Chass, Murray (1995-06-18). "BASEBALL: NOTEBOOK; For Strawberry, a Pocket Guide on the Wayward Souls of the Stadium". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  9. ^ "Like father, like some sons". The Spokesman-Review. 1990-07-05. 
  10. ^ Pittsburgh Sports Report - Son of a Legend: Where Are They Now by Doug Kennedy
  11. ^ "Larry Berra". Baseball-reference.com BP Bullpen. 
  12. ^ "Tim Berra". Pro-Football-reference.com.