Jackie safe at home? Not according to Yogi
One thing the baseball community can agree on: Jackie Robinson and Yogi Berra were two of the best to ever play the game. One thing the two greats disagree on: the outcome of a play that occurred when Robinson and Berra met in a pivotal World Series moment in 1955.
Berra was in his 10th season (wrapping up his second consecutive American League MVP Award-winning campaign) and Robinson in his ninth when Berra's New York Yankees and Robinson's Brooklyn Dodgers met yet again in the World Series.
In the top of the eighth inning of Game 1, with the Yankees leading by two runs with two outs and a 1-0 count on pinch-hitter Frank Kellert, Robinson broke for home against Yanks left-hander Whitey Ford.
That much comes without debate. What happened next prompts disagreement, particularly on Berra's part.
Ford went through with his over-the-head windup delivery and made a precise throw home to Berra, who was ready to lay the tag on Robinson, who slid in feet first. Robinson was quickly called safe by home-plate umpire Bill Summers, and Berra was incensed.
Berra never quite let it go (though the Yankees won that game, 6-5, the Dodgers won the World Series in seven games). In fact, according to Politico, once after President Barack Obama mentioned Robinson's famous steal of home in 2010, Berra sent the president a signed photo of the play.
Ben Walker of The Associated Press writes that every time Berra would walk past a photo of the play at his museum in Montclair, N.J., he would mutter, "You're out." And according to NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski, Berra and Robinson's wife, Rachel, continued to greet each other warmly the same way when they would see each other for the next 60 years.
"Safe," Rachel would say. "Out," Berra would say.
The two teams had met in the World Series four times in the previous eight seasons before that 1955 Classic, and the Yanks had won each time. Brooklyn went on to take the '55 crown, and it proved to be its only title before departing for Los Angeles after the '57 season. It's hard to say if Robinson's steal of home sparked something in the Brooklyn club. And even harder to say what would have happened if the call went Berra's way.