There’s a case to be made for Bernie Williams. For roughly 15 years, he played center field for an excellent team. He scored 100 runs eight times, and drove in 100 runs five times. Sure, his teammates helped in those areas. But Williams’ .297/.381/.477 line is quite lovely for a center fielder.
The problem for most of the voters will be Williams’ counting stats. Because he didn’t really become an every-day player until he was 24 and was finished at 37, he didn’t pile up a ton of hits or homers or RBIs. And while he does have nearly a full season’s worth of postseason statistics — for which he deserves some credit — he has few memorable October moments and overall his stats are right in line with his regular-season numbers.
That’s why he won’t get much support from the voters.
Should he, though? Based purely on his position and his hitting, I would rate him a borderline candidate. The problem is that his defensive statistics were terrible. Yes, I know he won four Gold Gloves. Derek Jeter won five. These facts say a lot more about the idiocy of the process than about Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Williams was a slightly below-average center fielder. According to FanGraphs, he was a terrible center fielder. Oddly, though, both sites come up with the same answer about his overall value: 47 or 48 Wins Above Replacement. And that’s just not a Hall of Famer.
Here’s something fun to chew on: Who has the best case of the all the Yankees who have not made the Hall, including Munson and Mattingly? Got to think Bernie ranks near the top of that list.