FACT CHECK: Did Yogi Berra Say, ‘In Theory, There Is No Difference Between Theory And Practice. In Practice, There Is’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A Facebook post claims professional baseball player Yogi Berra once said, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that this saying originated with Berra.

Fact Check:

The only player in Major League Baseball history to win 10 World Series titles, Berra played catcher for the New York Yankees for 18 seasons.

Aside from his ball-playing skills, Berra is perhaps best known for his humorous non sequiturs called “Yogi-isms,” which were eventually compiled into the 1998 book “The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!(RELATED: Did Albert Einstein Say, ‘Two Things Inspire Me To Awe – The Starry Heavens Above And The Moral Universe Within’?)

However, the quote appears nowhere in that book, or any of his others.

“As to our knowledge, that quote is not in fact genuine,” confirmed Nikki Morton of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The website Quote Investigator traced the earliest instance of the saying back to 1882, where it appeared in the Yale Literary Magazine. Benjamin Brewster, a student at Yale University, recounted a philosophical argument he had with a friend, writing, “What does his lucid explanation amount to but this, that in theory there is no difference between theory and practice, while in practice there is?”

In the 1980s, Walter Savitch included the quote — cited only as a “remark overheard at a computer science conference” — in his computer programming textbook, according to etymologist Barry Popik.

A variation of this expression has also been attributed to theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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