Tasty tidbit for the fans, this story of Lawrence Peter Berra, clumsy ape with baseball brains, who grew up as the son of an Italian immigrant and ended as the highest paid ball player of 1951. If you can ignore the acceptance of such a goal (a recognizable element in Barnes' Most Valuable Players series) you find lively background material in the account of the successful outcome of the Yankees' courtship of Berra. As catcher and high average better Berra is as nimble as they come, in inverse ratio to his thick speech and loutish figure. But innate honesty and good humor saved him many a money scrape, and his skill provides the stadium crowds with many a thrill. The author, a Daily News sportswriter, knows the dugouts and the locker rooms. All ages.