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Berra Officially Named Manager of Yankees

Oct. 24, 1963 - Lawrence Peter (Yogi) Berra was named today as manager of the New York Yankees. In the same plush Savoy-Hilton setting where three years ago Casey Stengel and George Weiss stepped out as manager and genereal manager, Yogi took over. The 38-year-old Berra succeeded Ralph Houk who, after winning three straight pennants as Stengel’s successor, moved up to general manager, replacing Roy Hamey. Yogi signed for only 1one year — at his own insistence — at a salary reported to be $35,000. “Berra is receiving the same salary,” said club president Dan Topping, “as was given to Stengel and Houk in their first year as manager.” That would put it at $35,000 — an estimated $5,000 cut. Kidded by newsmen about the reduction, Yogi said: “It wasn’t a big cut,” as though he tips caddies that much. Why did he insist on a one-year contract? Yogi explained that he wanted to decide for himself whether he was making good. “If I feel I can’t do the job,” said Yogi, “I don’t want to stay managing. I want to get a taste of it. If I can’t do it, I’ll quit. If I can,” he added with a smile and a sly look in Topping’s direction, “I’ll stick around a while, and we can talk about a new contract.” Yogi then announced his retirement as a player. He won’t even stay on the active list as a pinch hitter. “Managing, I think, is tough enough of a job,” said Yogi. Joe DiMaggio, Berra’s former teammate, said today he could say “nothing but success” for Yogi as a manger. “He’s not the clown that some have made him out to be,” said the Yankee Clipper. Nevertheless, Yogi’s natural humor was woven throughout the question-and-answer session.

On his feelings about the job: “I just hope I can stay in the same shoes as Houk did.”

On what he picked up from the managers he has played for: “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

What do you see as your biggest problem as manager? “If I can manage.”

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