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Lou Berberet

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Louis Joseph Berberet

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[edit] Biographical Information

Lou Berberet was signed by the New York Yankees out of Santa Clara University, where he was a lineman on the football team. In brief trials with the 1954, '55 Yankees, he hit .400 both times going 2 for 5. But he wasn't going to replace Yogi Berra or Elston Howard and was traded to the Washington Senators where he hit .261 in both 1956 and '57.

The chunky, light-hitting Berberet finished up with a .230 lifetime average in 1960 after also playing for the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. He missed the 1951-1952 seasons due to military service.

Longtime Washington Senators announcer Bob Wolff tells of the time Berberet, the team's catcher, settled under a pop fly, threw away the glove and attempted to make the catch with his mask but never touched the ball.

In another instance, he was catching and chewing a chaw of tobacco when a player came down the line and collided with him. Berberet swallowed the tobacco and almost choked. He had to be revived on the field.

Aside from the humor in Lou's career, he was an outstanding defensive receiver who made just one error in 59 games in 1956. He then became one of the few catchers to field 1.000 with no errors in 77 games in 1957, and is one of the most efficient catchers in history in throwing out would-be base stealers (51%)-- even higher than stars like Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez. Ironically, however, he committed three errors in one inning while catching for Detroit in 1959.

Berberet spent several years as a sales manager for a liquor distributor in Long Beach, CA. He then moved to Las Vegas, NV in the mid-seventies where he was a general manager for the Nevada Liquor Company.

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