A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 12, 2008
“Even Napoleon had his Watergate” (Yogi Berra?)

New York City baseball player and manager Yogi Berra (1925-2015) is known for his malapropisms. “Even Napoleon had his Watergate” ("Watergate" is a mistake for “Waterloo,” meaning even a great leader has a moment of downfall) is often credited to Yogi Berra.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Danny Ozark (1923-2009) made the remark after his team’s slow start in 1978; there is no record that Yogi Berra ever said it. The expression probably had several independent authors. “Oh, well, even Napoleon has his Watergate” was overheard on a bus in July 1973.


Wikipedia: Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte, (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) later known as Napoleon I, was a French military and political leader who had a significant impact on the history of Europe. He was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as First Consul of the French Republic and Emperor of the First French Empire.

Born in Corsica and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France, he rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, Napoleon staged a coup d’état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he crowned himself Emperor of the French. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he turned the armies of France against every major European power and dominated continental Europe through a series of military victories - epitomised in battles such as Austerlitz and Friedland. He maintained France’s sphere of influence by the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.

The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon’s fortunes. His Grande Armée was wrecked in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig, invaded France and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he returned and was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821. The autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer though Sten Forshufvud and other scientists in the 1960s conjectured that he had been poisoned with arsenic.

Wikipedia: Watergate scandals
The Watergate scandals were a series of political scandals during the presidency of Richard Nixon that resulted in the indictment of several of Nixon’s closest advisors and ultimately his resignation on August 9, 1974.

Wikiquote: Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an American baseball player, manager and member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, noted for his bad-ball hitting, his ability to perform in the clutch, and his malapropisms.
(...)
. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.

Wikipedia: Danny Ozark
Daniel Leonard Ozark, born Daniel Leonard Orzechowski (November 24, 1923 — May 7, 2009) was an American coach and manager in Major League Baseball. As manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (1973 through August 31, 1979), Ozark led the Phils to three consecutive National League East Division championships (1976-77-78), but each year his team fell in the National League Championship Series.

Google News Archive
5 July 1973, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “An Error on a Compliment” by Alex Thien, pt. 1, pg. 17, col. 1:
BILL AMBROSH said he was riding on the Mitchell St. bus when he overheard:

“Oh, well, even Napoleon has his Watergate.”

29 October 1973, The Daily Chronicle (Centralia, WA), pg. 3, col. 3 ad:
NAPOLEON has his WATERLOO...NIXON had his WATERGATE!
(Cascade Enterprises, Inc. --ed.)

3 June 1979, San Diego (CA) Union, “Let’s Hear It For The Local Boy” by Wayne Lockwood, pg. H-2, col. 1:
“His limitations are limitless,” Ozark once judged of a Philadelphia player. Another time, he noted, “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

3 October 1979, Annapolis (MD) Evening Capital, pg. 23, col. 1:
And who could forget Ozark, king of the malaprops? After a 10-game losing streak, the Philadelphia manager said straight-faced: “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

11 July 1984, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “The Scene—In Philadelphia and Its Suburbs,” pg. B2:
And who could forget the Phillies sad-sack skipper Danny Ozark, who was given to such malapropisms as, “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

Sports Illustrated
Originally Posted: April 10, 1989
THE MOUTHS OF BABE . . . . . . and Yogi and Diz have produced many a malaprop
BY STEVE RUSHIN
(...)
OZARK ERR LINES Like Berra pere, Danny Ozark was a manager whose errors were considered less tactical than syntactical:
(...)
‘’Even Napoleon had his Watergate.’’ (On the Phils’ slow start in 1978.)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, November 12, 2008 • Permalink