"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The End of the Line…or Not

My brother called me during the game last night and wondered if the Yankees would consider keeping Bernie Williams next year; buying out his option, then signing him to a small-time, one-year deal. After talking about it for a few minutes, the idea of Bernie in the DH/PH, Rock Raines/Chili Davis role would be appealing. He’d be a nice replacement for Sierra, that’s for sure. Whatta ya say? I know it’s still early, but do you think that Bernie and/or the Yankees would be interested in such a scenerio?

It hasn’t warmed up yet. Let’s hope that Bernie has another three-week hot stretch left in him. I know that I am appreciating every thing he does this season–especially the positive contributions–because it could be the last we see of him.

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1 rbj   ~  May 25, 2005 1:35 pm

1.  That sounds like a great idea. Bernie's not going to command a lot on the open market, keeping him around as a part time player would be nice. Would he want that, or would he feel that if he can't compete at the top level then it's time to call it a career.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 25, 2005 1:42 pm

2.  I always thought Bernie would quit at the first sign of decline because I always felt that baseball was just something he did rather than what stoked his internal fires. But his comments over the past two years would lead you to believe he wants to keep playing and would even go elsewhere if he had to.

When I first noticed Bernie's defense getting rough (the tiny ship was tossed) I envisioned a late-career surge a la Paul Molitor as a pure-hitting DH that put him over 3,000 hits and into the Hall. To think that we're now discussing him as a Ruben Seirra replacement is a bitter pill to swallow. Reality bites.

3 Alex Belth   ~  May 25, 2005 1:49 pm

3.  Cliff, it's my feeling that Bernie is a borderline Hall of Famer. As it stands, I don't think he's got enough to get in, in spite of the four rings and the numbers he put up from 1996-2002.

Let's say he remains in the game and is a decent DH/PH for another two or three years after this one. What would he have to do in order to get into the Hall? Really, would it be just a matter of putting up credible numbers and then getting fortunate enough to have a few more big playoff moments, maybe even another title?

There is no player I've ever rooted for that I would like to see make the Hall than Bernie, but I just don't see him reaching that point. Still, he'll be a good argument for rainy days. The fact that we can even make a case for him fills me with pride for everything he's accomplished.

4 Alex Belth   ~  May 25, 2005 1:50 pm

4.  Since he's been in the game, how many center fielders have been better? Junior Griffey, for one. Edmonds. Andruw Jones, if you take everything into consideration?

5 NetShrine   ~  May 25, 2005 2:09 pm

5.  If interested, I ran the stats last week for Bernie and HOF comps: http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2005/05/bernie_williams.html

And, as I said then, it's probably up to Bernie as to where he wants to play next year - but, if it's not NY, I could see Buck taking him in Texas to play DH/OF and get about 400 PA.

6 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  May 25, 2005 2:28 pm

6.  I absolutely think we should keep Bernie around, for reasons sentimental and practical. He'd be a great bench player, in my opinion. The way he's handled his role these past days, getting a couple of very big hits despite his bitterness, despite his not really being in a groove, leads me to believe he'd be outstanding as a pinch-hitter. Plus, his discipline alone makes him valuable. Even if he's cold, he could still well draw a clutch walk, the way O'Neill did against Benitez in 2000.

Plus, I really do belive in chemistry and it's been reported lately just how highly the team thinks of him, so his continued presence can only be good for morale.

But given the way the organization has handled its veterans (e.g., Pettitte, Stanton, Tino) doesn't give me great hope that they'll try to retain his services, in any capacity.

Either way, yes, let's savour the time he's got left.

7 singledd   ~  May 25, 2005 2:48 pm

7.  It would be wonderful if he stayed on the team. I really can't imagine anyone paying him much as a DH/PH who bats .250. I also think he would rather stay with the Yanks then go elsewhere. How about honoring him by making him co-captain next year? However, where is Giambi? If he is still playing, I think he is basically our DH. Its will give Bernie the opportunity to pad some of his career numbers and stay in the game. However, if we do keep him. it may be at the expense of someone on the farm. Phillips? Bubba? Johnson?

Also, does Bernie have any aspirations to coach, or remain in baseball in any other capacity?

8 singledd   ~  May 25, 2005 2:50 pm

8.  Also.... as much as I love the guy, I don't think he is quite HOF. Like Rice, he was an impact player with outstanding years... but I personally think getting elected to the HOF should be a no brainer, not something that needs much pondering. I think there is a difference between high excellence and greatness.

9 Knuckles   ~  May 25, 2005 2:57 pm

9.  For 2006, we should keep Bernie and make some moves.

3B- Duncan
2B- Cano
1B- Bernie/FA/Tino/Posada
DH- Bernie/FA/Tino/Posada
SS- A-Rod
CF- Jeter
RF- Matsui (probably bored with the one corner all the time)
LF- Sheff (ditto)
C- Skinner/Slaught/Nokes

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  May 25, 2005 7:20 pm

10.  By the way, good for Rodriguez. This therapy business is about the first thing I've heard out of this guy's mouth that I actually find endearing.

He scores major points with me on this, especially contrasted with Piazza's disgraceful behavior, calling a press conference to assure the world he's a Red-Blooded American Male. Man, that was so low-class.

Anyway, I think de-sigmatizing therapy (and confrontation of personal issues, generally) is a terrific way to use one's status as a role model.

(I'm still not sold on him as a big-time performer under pressure, but at least I have a reason to pull for the guy now, other than that he happens to play for the Yankees. ;)

11 psteff   ~  May 25, 2005 9:21 pm

11.  Bernie's a legend and should retire as a yankee by any means necessary...
and i agree with you hilde about a-rod. now if he could only get a few big hits this weekend!

12 brockdc   ~  May 25, 2005 10:55 pm

12.  Weeping,

Well said.

13 Alex Belth   ~  May 26, 2005 5:49 am

13.  I generally agree with Murray about people in therapy sometimes feeling the need to impress upon you the importance of what they are doing. It's like recovered alcoholics or smokers being holier-than-thou. I like Rodriguez as a player, but it's hard for me to get behind him too much as a personality. It's hard to know when he's being sincere. But I thought that it was cool that he came out with this business of being in therapy. It took a degree of nerve because as soon as he starts to slump, well, the headline writers will just have a field day. I'm sure they are already licking their chops in Boston.

But good for him, is what I say.

14 Simone   ~  May 26, 2005 6:41 am

14.  It is a great idea for the Yankees to sign Bernie as a DH/PH. If Bernie wants to continue to play, then he should play for the Yankees and no other team. It is hard enough to watch Pettitte in that ugly ass Astros uniform, I might actually cry if I have to see Bernie in another team's uniform. Sure I'm being hopelessly sentimental, but I don't care. I shamelessly adore Bernie.

15 rsmith51   ~  May 26, 2005 8:00 am

15.  I would like to see the Yanks resign Bernie to a DH/PH/OF role. I am not sure what he has left, but he is my favorite player. I think a lot of Yankee fans are very slow to get on Bernie because we just love the guy. I am with you Simone, I can't see him wearing another uniform. Of the late 90s Yankees, I think Jeter, Williams, and Rivera all get their numbers retired. I think O'Neill and then Posada are possible, too.

16 Rob   ~  May 26, 2005 8:25 am

16.  i'm really glad they made the children's aid society..

(anyone remember that ad?)

17 uburoisc   ~  May 26, 2005 9:12 am

17.  I think that if Bernie wants to play, he could still be a solid DH/PH for a team that needs one (and I think there are teams that would take the chance on a guy that has been a great a hitter as Bernie has). I suspect that if Bernie only concentrates on his hitting, he could make the HOF if he has the at bats and a few more solid years. Trouble is, he won't get those at bats with the Yankees. So it may come down to what Bernie wants to do. The Yanks should certainly keep him on to DH and PH if he wants to stay; Bernie can still hit, and I know he can still be deadly in the clutch.

18 Jen   ~  May 26, 2005 9:16 am

18.  Yes, Rob! And I've been singing that song since yesterday afternoon.

They have an updated version of it on their website.
(the link is next to the top banner). I liked the old school version better though.


19 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  May 26, 2005 10:21 am

19.  I'm still singing that song from 10 years ago. It really is the catchiest jingle of all time. That and the Food Emporium song.

Living in Boston (my title is about my origin and my future home), the media has been pretty quiet about the A-Rod therapy thing. Kind of a surprise.

20 Rich Lederer   ~  May 26, 2005 11:12 am

20.  Only Griffey was better than Williams in the latter's peak years. Edmonds has also been a superior player over the entire span of Bernie's career. The Beltrans and Joneses derive too much of their value post-2002 to be truly comparable.

A borderline Hall of Famer in my opinion but one who will find the going tough when it comes time for the writers to cast their ballots.

I think Bernie would make a fine bench player for a year or two but nothing more than that. It'll probably come down to money and/or pride (on both sides).

21 brockdc   ~  May 26, 2005 11:52 am

21.  Nothing comes close to watching Tino in those horrid, post-apocolyptic cardigans, courtesy of the Devil Rays.

22 Rob   ~  May 26, 2005 2:43 pm

22.  jen - that's hilarious. the jingle totally crept out of the depths of my brain the minute i heard the a-rod story.

23 Patrick   ~  May 28, 2005 9:17 am

23.  I'd love to see Bernie back. Him on the Yankees is just "right".

Like you, I'm enjoying everything he does this year.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver