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 September 22, 2015
“You can observe a lot by watching”

New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra (1925-2015) was named the team’s manager in October 1963, replacing Ralph Houk (1919-2010). Berra told reporters that he’d learned from coaches Houk and Casey Stengel (1890-1975). “You can observe a lot by watching” Berra said, a malaprop for “You can absorb a lot by watching.”

“You can observe a lot by watching” was published in the New York (NY) Times on October 25, 1963.


Wikiquote: Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (May 12, 1925-September 22, 2015) is a former American baseball player, manager and member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, noted for his malapropisms.
(...)
You can observe a lot by watching.
. You Can Observe a Lot by Watching: What I’ve Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life, John Wiley & Sons, 2008, ISBN 9780470079928

25 October 1963, New York (NY) Times, “Sports of the Times” by Arthur Daley:
“Everyone snickered when he said, ‘You can observe a lot by watching.’ He really meant that you can absorb a lot by watching. Yogi absorbs like a sponge.”
(Joe Garagiola.—ed.)

6 May 1964, Boston (MA) Record American, “My Boston” by Harold Banks, pg. 30, col. 4:
YOGI BERRA, the new manager of the Yankees, has a lot to learn from an old one, Casey Stengel, but he’s catching on fast. From Somerville comic Billy Kelly, who entertained at the Saints and Sinners soiree that made Yogi the fall guy, come these gems right out of the Yankee helmsman’s mouth: “You can observe a lot by watching...Those fans in Kansas City don’t want to come out and see their ball club—and nobody is gonna stop ‘em.” But the Yankees keep right on laughing all the way to the pennant.

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.
(...)
But “out as the side of a barn” doesn’t linger in the mind like Yogi’s famous re-examination of two ordinary verbs: “You can observe a lot by watching.” He actually did say that, except that it may have been “You observe by watching” in the original.

Google Books
When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!:
Inspiration and Wisdom from One of Baseball’s Greatest Heroes

By Yogi Berra with Dave Kaplan
New York, NY: Hyperion
2001
Pg. 66:
When I was announced as the manager after the ‘63 season, a reporter asked me what I had picked up from Casey Stengel and Ralph Houk, the two managers I’d most played for. I said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”

And that pretty much has always been my philosophy. Even when I was a kid, I was known for watching things carefully

Los Angeles (CA) Times
Yogi Berra dies at 90; greatest quotes
By HOUSTON MITCHELL
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015, 11:40 PM
(...)
“You can observe a lot by watching.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, September 22, 2015 • Permalink