Baseball

Yankees Fan Favorite: Bernie Williams

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Bernie Williams is one of the biggest fan favorites in the history of the New York Yankees. His versatility made him a valuable player for the duration of his career while his leadership and clutch performances were invaluable. He was one of the most important pieces of the Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990’s. While Bernie Williams may not get enough national recognition around MLB that he deserves, he will forever be a true legend among Yankees fans.

Bernie Williams Career Highlights

Bernie Williams played the entirety of 16 year MLB career with the New York Yankees. He made his debut in the big leagues in 1991 at 22 years old and played through the 2006 MLB season, retiring at 37 years old. The real prime of his career in terms of production started in the 1995 MLB season and continued through the 2002 MLB season. He was a switch hitter who slashed .305/.390/.485 or better in each of the eight seasons across that span. He hit at least 18 home runs in each of those eight years and hit 25 or more home runs in five of them.

Bernie Williams was selected as an All-Star in five straight seasons between 1997 and 2001. In addition to his solid bat, he also played excellent defense in a premium position as a center fielder. He was selected as a Golden Glove winner in four consecutive seasons between 1997 and 2000. His instincts, reaction time, and range are what made him so special in the middle of the Yankees outfield. He actually had a weak arm but made up for it by being elite in every other defensive attribute. It actually makes the Golden Gloves even more impressive.

In the 1998 MLB season, Bernie Williams became the first player in MLB history to win a batting title, Gold Glove and World Series title in the same year. It was one of his four total World Series titles, including three straight between 1998 and 2000. His contributions helped the Yankees make the postseason in every season between 1995 and 2006. The Yankees appeared in 25 postseason series during Williams’ time with the team, and they won 17 of them. His contributions in the heart of the batting order and center of the outfield are a big reason why.

Why Bernie Williams is a Yankees Fan Favorite

His steady and solid production on a yearly basis is what made him a great player, but his enormous postseason contributions are what takes him to the next level in the hearts of Yankees fans. He had the clutch gene and always seemed to come up big in the highest pressure moments. He was the MVP of the 1996 ALCS and had a .400 or better batting average in six different postseason series. Despite his career slash line in the World Series being less than impressive, he was always a batter Yankees fans wanted at the plate in the biggest moments.

Bernie Williams is the all-time MLB postseason career leader with 80 RBI. He also ranks in the top three in home runs, hits, doubles, walks, total bases, and runs scored. The versatility of his game is what made Yankees fans love him as well. He is a switch-hitting centerfielder with pop in his bat and speed in his legs. He only struck out more than 100 times in one of his 16 seasons while stealing ten or more bases in seven different seasons.

While Bernie Williams is not an MLB Hall of Famer, he is a true Yankees legend. His number has been retired and he is displayed in Monument Park, one of the greatest honors for any former Yankee. He may not get the national recognition that he deserves as a player, but he will always be loved by the Yankees fans that had the honor of experiencing his career. In the words of the great John Sterling, “Bern Baby Bern!”

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Adam Hulse is a baseball writer at Overtime Heroics. He is also the host of his own Podcast titled: Sports Talk with Adam Hulse