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Derek Jeter: Yogi Berra Even Better Person Than Player

The greatest Yankee shortstop paid tribute on Wednesday to the greatest Yankee catcher, who died at 90 on Tuesday.

“To those who didn’t know Yogi [Berra] personally, he was one of the greatest baseball players and Yankees of all time,” Derek Jeter writes. “To those lucky ones who did, he was an even better person. To me he was a dear friend and mentor.”

Berra remained in self-imposed exile from Yankee Stadium during the early years of Jeter’s career. The Hall of Fame catcher held a grudge against the late team owner George Steinbrenner for dispatching an underling to fire him and for doing so 16 games into the 1985 season after promising job security to the manager before the season began. But after Steinbrenner apologized to Berra in person at the catcher’s New Jersey home in 1999, the friendly face became a familiar face again at Yankee Stadium (seen in the picture talking with C.C. Sabbathia).

Jeter offered his condolence message at the Players Tribune site he started that allows athletes to send fans messages unfiltered by the media.

“He will always be remembered for his success on the field, but I believe his finest quality was how he treated everyone with sincerity and kindness,” Jeter said of Berra. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

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