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Yogi Berra, legendary New York Yankee, dies at 90

How did a ballplayer with an eighth grade education become known as a dispenser of wisdom? That's what 60 Minutes wanted to know, so in 2002, the broadcast asked the man himself: legendary New York Yankee Yogi Berra.

Yogi was 76 when the interview aired, a 60 Minutes classic from the broadcast's archives. He died Tuesday at age 90.

"I don't mean to be funny. I tell you the truth, Bob. Them sayings come out. I don't even know I say them. I really don't."

So-called "Yogi-isms" are quirky bits of wisdom attributed to the ballplayer, such as: "The future ain't what it used to be." And: "It ain't over till it's over." These quotes have become staples of the English language, uttered everywhere from the White House to college commencements.

Yogi Berra CBS News

Yogi-isms have made Yogi Berra one of the most quoted Americans in the world. He's said to be quoted more often than Shakespeare. But where did Berra's clever sayings come from?

"I don't mean to be funny," Berra told Bob Simon in his 60 Minutes interview. "I tell you the truth, Bob. Them sayings come out. I don't even know I say them. I really don't."

As Simon observed in the story, many of Yogi-isms have a Zen-like, enigmatic quality -- but that probably wasn't intended.

For example, when Simon visited Berra at his home in Montclair, NJ, he came face-to-face with the actual fork in the road from the saying, "When you come to a fork in the road...take it."

As Simon learned, that's simply what Berra says when he gives driving directions to guests visiting his home -- since both roads at the fork lead to his driveway.

True to form, Berra told Simon: "I wish I could make these up."

For more stories behind Yogi Berra's famous sayings, including, "It's déjà vu all over again," watch the original 60 Minutes II report, titled "Yogi-isms," in the video player above.

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