2. Bernie Williams
Bernie Williams’ Hall of Fame case at least needs some amplification.
No, I’m not positive Bernie Williams is a Hall of Famer. But I’d like to shout a little louder about the possibility before we move too far past New York’s ’90s dynasty.
Williams ranks ahead of several Hall of Famers on the JAWS standard, though that’s never a very helpful or fruitful argument when so many of them were Veterans Committee gifts from a bygone era like Max Carey, Earle Combs and Hugh Duffy.
From 1994-2002, Williams was untouchable at his peak, finishing in the top 20 for MVP twice and making five consecutive All-Star teams from 1997-2001. He was also helped by being a smooth-as-silk defender under the bright postseason lights in the Bronx for his entire career.
While it’s not helpful to compare him to greats of the teens and roaring twenties, it’s worth examining his case in comparison to a Vets Committee favorite: Dale Murphy. The two-time Braves MVP ranks behind Williams in WAR, 49.6 to 46.5, but ahead of him in JAWS, 43.9 to 43.6. Taking Williams’ championship pedigree into account, Yankee fans will have every right to holler if Murphy sneaks in while Williams remains discarded. I mean, for goodness sake, he peaked at 9.6% over just a two-year stint on the ballot. That doesn’t track.