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Friday, November 7, 2008

Yankee Great Yogi Berra Is Stolen By A Fan As A Parting Souvenir From Yankee Stadium

Bronx, NY- September 21, 2008 was a bittersweet day in the rich history of Yankee Stadium. The final home game was played Sunday night before a sellout crowd as the Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-2. There were ceremonies, special guests and speeches by current and former greats, but that apparently wasn’t enough for some fans. Fifty five people were taken into custody, 18 of whom were arrested, for stealing or attempting to steal pieces of the stadium as keepsakes. Some tried to remove signs indicating sections, some tried to break off pieces of the fa├žade, some even tried to remove the seats from the toilets. Most were caught due to the extensive security measures and massive police presence.
While most were caught red handed, one man was successful in removing one of the most treasured artifacts ever to grace Yankee Stadium, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. Berra, who is now in his eighties, doesn’t move or see as well as he used to, which is why it was easy to steal the former catcher.
Terry Ketchum, owner of a private laundry business in Old Bridge, N.J., spotted the ancient catcher an hour after the game and quickly escorted him into his van. Berra, who was exhausted from several days worth of media coverage was easily led into the vehicle and placed atop several bags of dirty laundry.
“Boy, this sure is a comfy ride, but you might want an air freshener or something in here,” Berra was heard to say by Ketchum as he drove over the George Washington Bridge.
Ketchum arrived at his home after midnight, and carried the sleeping Berra onto the front lawn, where he has remained for three days to the delight of neighbors and passing cars.
“He likes it here, and we like having him here. Why can’t you people just mind your business,” said Ketcham.
Berra, who has been dressed in his Yankee pin stripes since Sunday morning, has also been adorned with a pointy red hat and been given a mini garden hoe.
“I have to hand it to the Ketchams, they have the best garden gnome on the block. An actual Hall of Famer!” said friend and neighbor Tom Gorlinski, “we can’t compete with that.”
Ketcham, who inherited the house from his deceased parents, said his dad would be proud to know that his favorite baseball player was now guarding the perennials and topiaries he had planted years prior.
“I’m 43, so I’m too young to have seen Yogi play, but dad loved him. To have old number 8 standing next to the faux wheel barrow with the marigolds planted in it would have been a dream come true for dad,” said Ketcham with tears in his eyes.
Local authorities acting on an anonymous tip recovered Berra from the Ketcham’s property. Terry Ketcham was placed in custody on charges of kidnapping, criminal mischief and public lewdness, due to the fact that Berra was using the mini wishing well on the lawn as a bathroom.
Berra, when asked why he didn’t just leave, said that he thought he was still doing a publicity junket for the Yankee organization.
“People came up asking for autographs and taking pictures. Plus they kept feeding me all kinds of food, it wasn’t a bad gig. You can lie to me, which wouldn’t be telling the truth, but nobody did that. I thought the Steinbrenners set this up as part of the closing festivities. I’ve been in a lot worse places, I’ll tell you that. That card show in the basement of that synagogue in Yonkers was much worse,” said Berra.
Berra has refused to press charges, but Ketcham still faces hundreds of dollars worth of fines from local authorities.
“It was all worth it. Yogi had such a good time that we are thinking about making this an annual event. Maybe next year I’ll set up a little tent with a cot in it so he doesn’t have to sleep standing up getting pelted by the lawn sprinklers.” DD

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