Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, coach and team manager Yogi Berra will be honored on a United States Forever stamp in 2021. The Italian American icon is one of the best-known baseball catchers of all time, not only for his formidable accomplishments in the sport, but also as a personality whose good nature and amusing malapropos endeared him to a nation, whether they were fans of the game or not.
An 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion during his 18 seasons with the New York Yankees, Berra was one of the game’s greatest catchers and a powerful hitter. The strength in his hands was as legendary as the assuming quips that he made, although he claimed “I never said half the things I said.”
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
The selection of Yogi for a stamp first came up in 2016, but the process, like everything with the USPS, takes time. After securing approval from the family, which was thrilled and proud of the honor to be bestowed on Yogi, the selection of an appropriate image was necessary. This artist for the stamp reviewed a dozen different images of Berra, selected by a research group, before producing a handful of sketches. Initially it was to be of Yogi at bat, but with the size of the stamp, everything ended being too small for a man who was a larger than life character. The postal service decided on a different route, with the final selection centered on Berra’s face, but with a more dynamic angle than you might find in a traditional baseball card, situated partially outside the frame. You can see his chest protector, identifying him as a catcher and his ball cap, identifying him as a Yankee; but the focus is on him and his smile.
Yogi is the 31st baseball player to be featured on a stamp; 20 of the previous 30 came together in a set that was released to honor the MLB All-Century Team in 2000, however, only a handful of players have been honored individually in a separate stamp issue. Yogi’s will be released later this year.