Bernie Williams has had a great carear playing with the Yankees. We have been lucky to have a player like Bernie with the team, year after year. In the modern era of massive egos, media darlings and drama queens, Bernie goes about his business, quietly, without drawing attention to himself and simply doing what he does best. Play baseball.
Now at the twilight of his carear, the talk about HOF credentials fills the minds of most sports writers and broadcasters. If you hear them talk, they will say plenty of great things about Bernie. He is a great team player, a quiet leader, talented, has some great years both in the field and at the plate. Then, comes the, "but".
But, his carear number are simply not HOF numbers. In a time with HR’s and RBI’s dominate everybody’s discussion, Bernie doesn’t stand a chance. If players like the Goose, Jim Rice, Tommy John, Lee Smith, Andre Dawsom and of course Don Mattingly can’t get in, Williams dosen’t stand a chance. Which is unfortunate. The way the HOF voting has been lately, you are better off trying to break into Fort Knox for some gold than trying to get voted into the HOF.
I will argue, while Bernies carear numbers wont blow you away, he has put together a pretty impressive carear and let us not forget, many of the years Bernie was trying to play through two bad shoulders and knees. Like a trooper, however, he kept plugging away. Where would the Yankees be if Bernie wasn’t there all these years?
Where would they be indeed. Going into this post season, I decided to take a little look at some numbers. We all know about the great history of the Yankees, 26 rings with at least one in each decade since the 1920’s. We know the stories, the history and all the tremendous memories. We even know about those other players not on the Yankees who have had some great post season efforts to go with a pretty solid carear.
All this is nice, but when it comes to the post season, Bernie’s production blows everybody away. Name any great, the Babe, Joe, Lou, Reggie, Jeter and Bernie tops them all in sure performance. I always knew Bernie was one of the clutch "go to" guys we’ve had throughout his carear. Except, his post season tallies are downright astonishing.
Just look at what hey has done. Going into the 2006 post season Bernie Williams is:
# 1 in games played at 120
#1 in number of at-bats with Jeter at 462
#1 in number of runs scored at 83
#2 in the number of hits at 128 (Jeter is #1 with 142)
#1 in total bases at 223
#1 in the number of doubles at 29
#1 in the number of HR’s at 22
#1 in the number of RBI’s at 80
#2 in the total number of walks at 71
#2 in the total number of singles at 77 (jeter is off the charts in this category)
#1 in extra base hits at 51
#1 in times on base at 202
What is impressive is these rankings are all-time for every player and team ever to play in the post season. To think about all the greats who have played this game and yet Bernie trumps them all. Sure you can argue he has played in more games, he does rank number one in the category. But, he not only plays but produces when he does play. Some of the Yankee greats have been to many a world series and Bernie trumps even them with his numbers.
Bernie ranks number one in nine categories and number two in four more. Name another player who can say the same thing. Ironically, Williams closest competitor in post season performance is his very own teamate and a sure lock on the HOF, Derek Jeter. And with Jeter only being 31, he will most likely pass Williams in many of the categories mentioned above. This shouldn’t diminish William’s impressive standing right now and we all know Jeter is down right alien in talent, espicially in the post season.
So people can say all they want about HOF credentials. Given some of the players who are qualified and yet waste away on one ballot after another, Williams most likely will not get a nod from the ignorant voters. The fact is, when a team needs a player the most, which is the post season, Bernie is in a class all by himself. Maybe people would think differently if he took on a more prima donna persona we see so often now days. Then again, it just wouldn’t be Bernie. The quiet leader who continues to drive opponents bonkers year after year after year. In my opinion Bernie deserves the HOF just for his post season numbers alone because if we include his regular season stats, the vote would be a slam dunk in the affirmative.