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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Bernie Williams

Eligible 2012

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 05, 2011 at 01:24 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 05, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3743928)
Defensive stats really don't like his fielding. Everyone knows he was horrible at the end, but I have him at -12 in 1996, -18 in 1999, -9 in 2000, -8 in 2001, -24 in 2002. Terrible arm. That really eats away at his peak. He'd be a candidate if someone could convince me that the PBP numbers are horribly wrong.
   2. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 05, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3743932)
Here's a question: was Bernie so miscast in CF that he would have had more value if the Yanks had made him an LF? Given what his weaknesses were, I think Williams would have been a league average LF during his prime, maybe a bit better.
   3. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 05, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3743946)
Wasn't Bernie an average CF most of the time before the decline? Based on Dan's post, looks like averagish from 1992-95, 1997-98. For some reason I remember him having one or two really good years too.
   4. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 05, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3744080)
Actually above average from 1992-95. It's certainly a normal aging curve. And yes 'zop, I agree with you completely--the numbers show he should have been moved right after he signed the big contract. Particularly in 2000-01, he still had the range to play a competent center but no longer the arm.
   5. Loren F. Posted: February 07, 2011 at 04:27 AM (#3744970)
Interesting idea. Up until the last few years, he had the bat to carry LF; plus, without the wear of CF, he may have hit a bit better (but who knows). And of course the Yankees didn't have a decent LF for most of Bernie's career.

I usually read HoM threads but don't post. But I wanted to add a few thoughts here because Bernie, even with his flaws, was my favorite Yankee of the 1990s-2000s. In many ways, that Yankees dynasty started with Bernie's breakout year of 1995. Then he went on to be the 1st- or 2nd-best position player on the team each season for the seven years 1995-2001, really one of the foundations of their consistent success. He was a quiet player, professional and with the occasional flash of a sense of humor; I liked the fact that he and Paul O'Neill and other Yankees sometimes jammed in the clubhouse. On the subject of music, I bought his first CD and it turned out to be tastefully dull. And even though it's too boring to ever listen to a second time, I'll never part with it. He was too proud about staying in CF in his later years, but he'd expressed willingness to move to LF if the team signed Carlos Beltran -- also, I think that a majority of baseball players who'd been stars are reluctant to acknowledge their fading skills. He had a lot of weaknesses, which, to me, made him easier to root for. The third best CF in Yankee history (I'd rank him ahead of Earle Combs), which isn't bad if #1 and #2 are Mantle and DiMaggio, and a fine part of the franchise's legacy.

Excellent hitter, especially for a CF. He had good power; he hit a HR into Yankee Stadium's blacked-out section in straight-away CF, which not a lot of players have done. But he was more of a line drive hitter and, despite my hopes, he never developed into a consistent 30+ HR guy. Not a good base stealer for someone so fast, but I recall that he was good going from first to third. Bernie seemed a little dreamy at times, not as "in the moment" as Jeter always has been -- and I suspect that played a factor in the difference between their base-running instincts, for instance. He was a decent hitter in "clutch" situations, but he didn't have a "clutch" rep. He tended to be good in the ALDS and ALCS, and, unfortunately, notably bad in the World Series. He missed a few shots at greater glory: the one time he was on track to be the World Series MVP was 2003, and the Yankees lost; the one year he would have been a serious contender for the AL MVP was 1998, and injuries limited him to 128 games. And then there was his fielding. Some ballplayers manage to look okay even though they're bad fielders, but Bernie looked bad for a good number of years. Even if the defensive stats underrated him (and I am not saying that they do), his 2002-05 was really a big mass of negative defensive value.

I wish that he was a clear HoM guy, but I know that his peak wasn't high enough to be a peak candidate, and his decline wasn't long and gentle enough to be a career candidate. I'll just have to wait for the Yankees to retire his number. Although given all the attention to the "Core Four" of Jeter-Rivera-Posada-Pettitte and the exclusion of Bernie, that may be a long wait.
   6. My Grate Friend Peason's pants are rankled Posted: February 07, 2011 at 05:00 AM (#3744979)
Good post, #5.

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