1. “Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them.”

2. “All I have is natural ability.” 

3. “I always loved the game, but when my legs weren’t hurting it was a lot easier to love.”

4. “If I knew I’d live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

5. “When I hit a home run, I usually didn’t care where it went. So long as it was a home run was all that mattered.”

6. “The hardest thing to do in sports, I think, is to hit a home run.”

7. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

8. “Hitting the ball was easy. Running around the bases was the tough part.”

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9. “The only thing I can do is play baseball. I have to play ball. It’s the only thing I know.”

10. “All the ballparks and the big crowds have a certain mystique. You feel attached, permanently wedded to the sounds that ring out, to the fans chanting your name, even when there are only four or five thousand in the stands on a Wednesday afternoon.”

11. “You don’t realize how easy this game is until you get up in that broadcasting booth.”

12. “Sometimes, I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else’s brain, who knows how good a player I might have been.”

13. “At my best, I was as good as anyone.”

14. “Well, I beat my man. Now it’s up to you to beat yours.”

15. “I don’t care what the situation was, how high the stakes were—the bases could be loaded and the pennant riding on every pitch, it never bothered Whitey. He pitched his game. Cool. Craft. Nerves of steel.”

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16. “Well, baseball was my whole life. Nothing’s ever been as fun as baseball.”

17. “It was all I lived for—to play baseball.”

18. “Thank God for baseball.”

19. “I can’t play anymore. I can’t hit the ball when I need to. I can’t steal second when I need to. I can’t go from first to third when I need to. I can’t score from second when I need to. I have to quit.”

20. “To play 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer.”

21. “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life.”

22. “The best team I ever saw—and I really mean this—was the ’61 Yankees. I never got to see the ’27 Yankees. Everyone says that was the greatest team ever, but I think it would’ve been a great series if we’d have had the chance to play them.”

23. “I’ve often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth, but now I guess I know how he felt.”

24. “I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.”

25. “You might as well go in and start getting dressed. I’m going to hit his first pitch for a home run.”

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26. “Don’t do as I did. I’m living proof of how not to live.”

27. “It gave me a second chance. I’d like everybody to have a second chance if they need it, so I’m trying to let people know how important it is to become an organ donor.”

28. “Bravery is a complicated thing to describe. You can’t say it’s 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and that it weighs 400 pounds or that it’s colored bright blue or that it sounds like a piano or that it smells like roses. It’s a quality, not a thing.”

29. “Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Listen to your moms and dads. In this great country of ours, you do whatever you set your mind to. Make us proud of you.”

30. “I don’t care who you are, you hear those boos.” 

31. “Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, ‘Sure, every time.'”

32. “My biggest regret was letting my lifetime average drop below .300. I always felt I was a .300 hitter, and if I could change one thing that would be it.”

33. “A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide.”

34. “I’ll play baseball for the Army or fight for it, whatever they want me to do.”

35. “After I hit a home run, I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.”

36. “But goddamn, to think you’re a .300 hitter and end up at .237 in your last season, then find yourself looking at a lifetime .298 average—it made me want to cry.”

37. “The biggest game I ever played in was probably Don Larsen’s perfect game.”

38. “Today’s Little Leaguers, and there are millions of them each year, pick up how to hit and throw and field just by watching games on TV. By the time they’re out of high school, the good ones are almost ready to play professional ball.”

39. “During my 18 years, I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.”

40. “Casey wanted us to stay loose. That didn’t mean clowning around. He just meant we should be confident and relaxed. We shouldn’t feel that one strikeout was going to end the season for us.”

41. “Watch the old man. Watch how the old man keeps the guys who aren’t playing happy.”

42. “You never have to wait long, or look far, to be reminded of how thin the line is between being a hero or a goat.”

43. “To get a better piece of chicken, you’d have to be a rooster.”

44. “If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete Rose, I’d wear a dress.”

45. “He who has the fastest golf cart never has a bad lie.”

46. “If I send the ball home, I know what will happen to it? My twin brothers will take it out on the lot, like any 20-cent rocket.”

47. “There are two kinds of people. There are leaders and there are followers—and I’m a follower.”

48. “A body came flying out and landed at my feet. At first, I thought it was Billy so I picked him up. But when I saw it wasn’t I dropped him back down.”

49. “I expected him to say, ‘Hang in there,’ or something like that. It took me an hour to talk him into giving me another chance!”

50. “You don’t have to talk to me about pensions. I won’t be around long enough to collect one.”

51. “I don’t know why, but for some reason, I seem to be more popular now than when I was playing.”

52. “I thought I raised a ballplayer. You’re nothing but a coward and a quitter.”

53. “Those people don’t know how tough that really was.”

54. “I guess you could say I’m what this country is all about.”

55. “When I’m hitting, I’d play for nothing. When I’m not, any kind of money I receive makes me feel as if I’m stealing.”

56. “God gave me everything and I blew it. For the kids out there, don’t be like me!”

57. “This year, I’d rather lead the league in home runs, runs batted in, and hitting.”

58. “His fielding leaves you wondering. Then he steps up to hit and all doubts start to fade.”

59. “Of course, I didn’t tell you about all the times I said I was going to hit one and it didn’t happen.”

60. “That’s the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century.”

61. “The Athletics should have come out of the dugout on tippy-toes, holding hands, and singing.”

62. “If the World Series was on the line and I could pick one pitcher to pitch the game, I’d choose Whitey Ford every time.”

63. “The best hitter I ever saw was .”

64. “My dad taught me to switch-hit. He and my , who was left-handed, pitched to me every day after school in the backyard. I batted lefty against my dad and righty against my granddad.”

65. “I hated to bat against Don Drysdale. After he hit you, he’d come around, look at the bruise on your arm, and say, ‘Do you want me to sign it?'”

66. “As far as I’m concerned, is the best ballplayer of my era. He is to baseball of the last 15 years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He’s never received the credit he’s due.” 

67. “Every time I see his name on a lineup card, I feel like throwing up.”

68. “A lot of people wrote that Roger Maris and I didn’t like each other and that we didn’t get along. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

69. “Sometimes, I sit in my den at home and read stories about myself. Kids used to save whole scrapbooks on me. They get tired of them and mail them to me. I’ll go in there and read them, and you know what? They might as well be about Stan Musial and Joe DiMaggio. It’s like reading about somebody else.”

70. “Roger Maris was as good a man and as good a ballplayer as there ever was.”


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