Apr 23, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Yankees former player Bernie Williams plays the national anthem on a guitar before game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 87-71. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Remembering Bernie Williams


Bernie Williams is perhaps remembered most for his ability to come through in the clutch. The big home run, the great catch, the knack for finding a way to get the job done were all part of his mystique.

But those who followed him closely all remember his smile. It is such a part of his character, that it seems as if it is a permanent part of his body. The rest of us were created with a mouth, Williams was given a smile.

He smiled through the good times, like the four times he was a World Series champion with the New York Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Officially, he still holds the postseason record for runs batted in with 80 and is second in postseason home runs with 22.

He smiled through the bad times, like the torn cartilage he suffered in 2003 and the quad injury that derailed his comeback in 2008. Yankees’ fans will always love and respect him for his ability to cover the pain and stand tall through adversity.

“I know there’s certain things regarding your job or whatever you may end up doing {that you don’t like}, he said, but I’m here to tell you, don’t let your job define who you are. Your relationships will define who you are. No matter what you choose to do in  life…you are going to be in a position to make an impact on somebody’s life.”

Besides his baseball career, Williams has brought his talents to the music world. He signed with MPL Communications, Paul McCartney’s publishing company, where he mixed jazz with Latin rhythms.

“I remember just being attracted to the music,” he explained in a CD press release. “When I had the opportunity to pick up a guitar, it was like it was inside of me. It was a challenge to learn how to play it. I didn’t want to stop.”

His second album, “Moving Forward,” by the Reform Records label, featured collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Jon Secada and Dave Koz.  The results were so highly acclaimed, that he earned a nomination for a Latin Grammy Award.

It was just one more reason to make him smile.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


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