On Thursday, an article in the Post caught up with former Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, who is eligible for the Hall of Fame this year. He gave the usual answers when asked about his shot at The Hall:
To know your name is on the Hall of Fame ballot means you were blessed to have a long and successful career. The voting is something I have no control over. I am very proud to have played my entire 16-year career for the New York Yankees, the best organization in baseball, and honored to have been part of so many amazing postseasons and four world championship teams.
I love Bernie as much as any Yankee fan, but he has no shot at the HOF. Monument Park? Absolutely. Cooperstown? It’s not likely.
Let me explain:
While his numbers are certainly great and rank him high in NYY annals, they pale in comparison to other Hall of Famers. According to Baseball Reference, the average batting HOFer hit .302/.374/.459 with 201 homers over an 18-year career. Bernie is on par with that as he put up a .297/.381/.477 with 287 homers in his 16-season career.
However, his 1,366 runs are a little shabby compared to average HOFer’s 1,275 (remember aHOF has two more seasons) as are his hits (2,336 to 2,313), doubles (449 to 395), triples (55 to 107), RBI (1,257 to 1,169), stolen bases to caught stealings (147-87 to 220-51) and his BB-K ratio (1,069-1,212 to 855-703).
His numbers are pretty good but not Hall worthy, in my opinion. Compared to other HOFers he’s just average, or below average as you can see above. His numbers are just not that overwhelming, which is sad because he was such a great Yankee.
The 43-year-old Williams was a five-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glover and won a Silver Slugger. He also won four World Series, was the 1996 ALCS MVP and won the batting title in 1998. Although he never finished higher than seventh in MVP voting.
Plus, none of his career similar players are HOFers. That shouldn’t be a pure indication that Bernie doesn’t belong, but it is telling.
Compared to the other CF in the Hall, Williams just doesn’t stack up either. He ranks fifth among that list in homers, eighth in RBI and pales in almost every other category. His 47.3 career WAR ranks him tied for 282nd all-time (191st among position players) and his 125 Adjusted OPS+ ranks him tied for 229th all-time.
Sure, he is the all-time career leader in postseason RBI (80) and is second in runs (83), hits (128), home runs (22), doubles (29), plate appearances (545) and at-bats (465), is tied for second in total bases (223) and third in walks (71), but how much of that is due to the fact that he played in the Wild Card era? Had Babe Ruth or the Mick or Joe D or another player from that era played with two additional playoff rounds who knows what kind of numbers they’d put up?
As I said before, Bernie Williams is one of my favorites. I love him and everything he has done for the organization. I didn’t want to write this post. I just felt that some Yankee fans are so blinded by their love for him that they ignore the fact that he really doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.
Bernie Williams should be very proud of his career. It’s nothing to scoff at and most players would kill to have his numbers, but I highly doubt he is Cooperstown-bound.