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 April 16, 2008
“What time is it?"/"Do you mean right now?” (Yogi Berra)

New York Yankee baseball great Yogi Berra is well known for his humorous sayings, although Yogi once remarked: “I never said everything I said.” Yogi was once asked (usually attributed to a teammate or specifically to Joe DiMaggio) what time it was, and responded, “Do you mean right now?” The saying was definitely attributed to Berra by New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver in May 1970.

In a November 1970 newspaper interview, Mickey Mantle (Berra’s New York Yankee teammate from 1951-1963) mentioned the Yogi saying, indicating that it was probably said in the 1950s or early 1960s.

A similar story was told by Yogi Berra himself in the March 25, 1956 Family Weekly magazine. Yogi was asked what size cap he wore and Yogi had allegedly answered, “You mean now, or when I’m in condition?”


Wikipedia: Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (born May 12, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball player and manager. He played almost his entire career for the New York Yankees and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He was one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times, and one of only six managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series.

Berra, who quit school in the eighth grade, has a tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language in highly provocative, interesting ways. Simultaneously denying and confirming his reputation, Berra once stated, “I never said half the things I really said.”

25 March 1956, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “There’s No Place Like Home Plate” by Yogi Berra, Family Weekly, pg. 11, col. 2:
Then there’s the story Lefty Gomez insists is true. Lefty, now a star salesman for a big sporting-goods firm, came down to St. Petersburg, Fla., during the early days of spring training a few years ago to take the Yankees’ measurements for new uniforms. When he came up to me in the locker room, he said:

“Yogi, what size baseball cap do you wear?”

And I’m supposed to have said, “You mean now, or when I’m in condition?”

2 May 1970, San Diego (CA) Union, “Seaver’s 4-Hitter Stops Padres, 2-1,” pg. C-2, col. 4:
Seaver, now 5-0 lifetime against the Padres, couldn’t resist telling post-game visitors about something Yogi Berra said on the bus to the stadium.

Someone asked Yogi what time it was.

“You mean now?” asked Berra.

24 November 1970, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 10A, col. 1:
(Mickey Mantle quotation—ed.)
“Yogi Berra was good manager. He came within one game of winning a World Series (The Cards won 4-3 in 1964) and still got fired. Yogi had a funny way of saying things, like you’d ask what time it was and ol’ Yogi would say ‘You mean right now?’”

Sports Illustrated
Yogi: What did Berra say, when did he say it and what does it all mean?
BY ROY BLOUNT JR.
Posted: Tue Sep. 16, 2014
Updated: Wed Sep. 23, 2015
Yogi Berra died on Tuesday night, Sept. 22, at the age of 90, but his legacy as a baseball legend lives on. In honor of his life, here is the following story, “Yogi,” by Roy Blount Jr., which originally ran in the April 2, 1984 issue of Sports Illustrated.
(...)
You mean right now? —YOGI BERRA when someone asked him what time it was

21 October 1987, Los Angeles (CA) Times, sports section, pg. 2:
Yogi Berra, when asked by Joe DiMaggio what time it was: “You mean right now?”

OCLC WorldCat record
What time is it? you mean now? : advice for life from the Zennest master of them all
Author: Yogi Berra; Dave Kaplan
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, ©2002.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English
Summary:
The beloved sport hero who gave us the immortal line, “ItUs not over till itUs over” returns with a treasure of inimitable wisdom as only the master himself can tell it. In 26 unique chapters Berra shares his Yogisms about everything from the meaning of life and death to the ultimate spiritual conundrum. (Philosophy).

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTime/Weather • Wednesday, April 16, 2008 • Permalink