August 13, 2007
EASY WAY TO GET SIX RINGS (via Glenn Dryfoos):
Yogi's backup caught flak, but very few games: Charlie Silvera seldom played as a Yankees reserve catcher in the 1940s and '50s. Opponents needled him mercilessly, but he got the last laugh as a member of six World Series champions. (Jerry Crowe, 8/12/07, Los Angeles Times)
Maybe Charlie Silvera would have been an everyday catcher for the St. Louis Browns or the Washington Senators, or any of the other lower-division teams dwarfed by the dynastic New York Yankees of the late 1940s and early '50s.Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2007 2:11 PM
Or, at the very least, maybe he would have been part of a platoon.
But Charlie Silvera didn't play for a lowly, wannabe contender.
Silvera played for the mighty Yankees, which meant that he was a backup to Yogi Berra. Which meant, of course, that he rarely played at all.
"Yogi caught every . . . damn game," Silvera, 82, says from his home in Millbrae, not far from the San Francisco airport. "You know, we had doubleheaders in those days, but he was a horse. He played every damn game."
And Silvera, all but tethered to the bench, mostly sat and watched as the workaholic Berra forged a career that landed him in the Hall of Fame.
Silvera, over 10 major league seasons, appeared in only 227 games. He racked up a paltry 482 at-bats, less than a typical season's worth for Berra. In 1950, he didn't bat until June 17, two months into the season. And though his lifetime batting average was .282, the San Francisco native hit only one home run.
"July 4, 1951," Silvera says. "I still have the ball."