Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Fathers Day Post about my Grandpa's loyalty to Yogi Berra

Well it is Father's Day today... and as of 2005, it's a day that I get some presents.

My love for the Red Sox has not exactly been subtle.
My dad's devotion for the Giants sometimes defies belief and I talked about it on Trio TV.

But I want to pay tribute to another baseball fan... my maternal grandfather, the late Dr. R. Edward Vioni. (pictured on the left.)

Let me rephrase that.
He was a big Yogi Berra fan.
He loved Yogi Berra, the loyal Italian that he was, and rooted for the Yankees as long as he was there.

When Casey Stengel was let go and they put Ralph Houk in as manager instead of Yogi, he evidently was not happy.

When the Yankees won the 1961 and 1962 World Series and the 1963 pennant he would grumble to my mom "They are winning IN SPITE of Ralph Houk."

Grandpa Vioni was elated when Yogi became manager in 1964 but when the Yankees fired him after the 1964 World Series, he swore off the Yankees.

When Yogi joined the Mets as a coach (and played in a handful of games) in 1965, grandpa became a full blown Mets fan. He loved them in 1969 (when Yogi was the first base coach) and loved them in 1973 (when Yogi was manager)

My first memories of grandpa was in the mid 1970s when Yogi returned to the Yankees as a coach for Billy Martin.

Needless to say he started following the Yankees again.
Grandpa died in 1979... he never saw George fire him in 1985.

When Yogi refused to come back to Yankee Stadium all of those years, refusing many Steinbrenner olive branches, I remember my mom saying "Good for him."

I know she was speaking for her dad.

I always wondered what grandpa would have done in 1986 when Yogi became a coach for the Houston Astros.

I bet he would have worn an Astros hat.


  1. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Thanks, Paul. What a special memory for me, too, of Pa. And you know that Pa would have loved that play-off series with the 4 Italian managers: Tony LaRussa, Lou Piniella, Bobby Valentine, and, of course, Joe Torre.

  2. Anonymous6:44 PM

    great stuff.
    I bet he was a Ralph Branca fan as well.
    Funny, you look like that guy in the black and white picture holding the file........

  3. Anonymous7:10 PM

    What a beautiful tribute to my Pop.