Dale Berra

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Dale Anthony Berra

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Our similarities are different." - Dale Berra, comparing himself to his father

Dale Berra, who came from a talented athletic family, had an eleven-year career in the major leagues as a shortstop and third baseman.

Born in New Jersey, he went to Montclair High School and was drafted in the first round of the 1975 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he was to spend the bulk of his minor and major league career. He appeared in 67 games for the Niagara Falls Pirates of the New York-Penn League in 1975, hitting .257 with 4 triples. In 1976, he moved up to the Charleston Patriots of the Western Carolinas League where he hit .298 with 16 home runs. The following year, 1977, he hit .290 with 18 home runs for the Columbus Clippers in Triple A and also came up for 17 games with the Pirates, hitting .175. He was 20 years old at the time. The Pirates of 1977 were a strong team, winning 96 games. Frank Taveras was the shortstop, and stars included Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Al Oliver. 1978 found him back in the minors, appearing in 99 games. He hit .280 with 18 home runs. He later came up for 56 games with the Pirates, and while he hit 6 home runs, he batted only .206. The next year, 1979, was more of the same. He did well in the minors with the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League, hitting .324 in 56 games, but up in the majors in 44 games he hit only .211. 1979 was the "We Are Family" year for the Pirates, who won the World Series. Tim Foli was the regular shortstop and Phil Garner and Bill Madlock played third base; Berra did not appear in the World Series. He was done with the minors for a while, though.

Dale played in the big leagues from 1980 to 1985, the first five years all in Pittsburgh, before dipping back into the minors towards the end of his career. 1980 and 1981 were nothing special, although in 1981 he stole 11 bases in 12 attempts. But 1982 and 1983 were better. In 1982, he became an everyday player, appearing in 156 games and hitting .263 with 10 home runs. The next season, he appeared in 161 games, hitting .251 with 10 home runs. He fell off to .222 with 9 home runs in 1984, and after the season was traded to the New York Yankees. The trade included All-Star Steve Kemp as well as Tim Foli, who was returning to the Pirates. Dale's dad, legendary Hall of Famer Yogi, managed the Yankees at the very start of the 1985 season before Billy Martin took over for the umpteenth time. Dale did not have a great season either, hitting only .229. The following year, he hit .231 in 42 games and was released. He finished his career with the Houston Astros, hitting .178 in 19 games in 1987. Yogi was a coach with the Astros at the time.

Berra testified during the cocaine distribution trial of Curtis Strong in Pittsburgh during 1985. He was among those suspended by Peter Ueberroth prior to the 1986 season for their involvement with drugs. His suspension was later waived with a commitment to a community service program and forfeiture of 10% of his season's salary. He would later be charged with cocaine possession in New Jersey in 1989, charges that were dismissed following a three-year pre-trial intervention program.

In addition to his famous father, Dale had two brothers in pro sports - Tim was a wide receiver and return specialist for the 1974 Baltimore Colts of the NFL and Larry played two years in the minors in the New York Mets chain.

Notable Achievement[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Dale Berra: My Dad, Yogi: A Memoir of Family and Baseball, Hachette Books, New York, NY, 2019. ISBN 978-0316525459

Related Sites[edit]