Bernie Williams still not retired


So I got to thinking about the 2008 season and where we failed, and the answer came to me in a flash: Bernie Williams! If they had Bernie patrolling the outfield, they would have made the playoffs. He brings the mystique and aura!

Seriously, though, the only reason I bring up Bernie is because of his feature role in a movie, “Keeper of the Pinstripes.” Newsday’s David Lennon caught up with the Yanks legend to get his thoughts on retirement.

“I’ll be 75 and still not announce my retirement,” Williams said last night at a pre-production party in Manhattan. “I’m still within this two- or three-year period where I can say, ‘You know what? Let me just work out … ‘”

It’s nice that he’s keeping himself in shape, but the prospect of him coming back isn’t exactly realistic. Brian Cashman invited him to Spring Training in 2007, but Bern declined. It’s now two years later. It seems that ship has sailed. Bernie seems to know it, too: “But I’m not really thinking about baseball right now. It’s always in the back of my mind, but I’m not really thinking of getting out there.”

We’ll always remember Bernie’s contributions to the dynasty. I just don’t want to see him trying to make a (probably futile) comeback.

Categories : Days of Yore


  1. DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

    I thought Bernie retired in 03 they just forgot to tell Joe Torre.

  2. UWS says:

    In other news, General Franco is still dead.

  3. pa says:

    i think bernie is one of if not the most underrated member of that dynasty squad.

    • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

      I think Bernie is the most over rated full time player in Yankee history.

      • Joseph P. says:

        Don’t see how he’s overrated or underrated. He’s just rated. Though he was one of the best center fielders in baseball for a while.

      • considering he was better than Mattingly by any objective measure, it’s strange that you feel that way.

        • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

          You sir are a fool. Mattingly was the best player in baseball for a few years, when was Bernie ever even the best player for one year in baseball?

          Bernie was NEVER a great CF. He always took the wrong first step, always started out slow as if he misjudged balls. His speed made up for a lot of that for a lot of years but he never was as good as a Jim Edmonds in CF. You can bring up any goofy dork stat graf chart thingy and it does not matter Bernie was NO WHERE NEAR THE PLAYER Donnie was in his prime. I think even Bernie would tell you that much.

          If Donnie had ever played on a team with the pitching that Bernie did, he would be considered a GOD by the late 90′s early 00′s bandwagon fans.

          • Mike Pop says:

            Yes I love arguments

          • like i said.

            just forget it.

          • one point:

            Bernie was NO WHERE NEAR THE PLAYER Donnie was in his prime.

            i’m not debating this.

            i’m just pointing out that Bernie’s “prime” lasted twice as long as Mattingly’s.

            but i’m a fool.

          • Mattingly was the best player in baseball for a few years, when was Bernie ever even the best player for one year in baseball?

            I assume you’re referring to Mattingly’s peak of ’84 to ’87, where he had 4 straight top-ten MVP finishes and put up this:

            1984 (23) – .343/.381/.537 156+, MVP-5,AS
            1985 (24) – .324/.371/.567 156+, MVP-1,AS, SS
            1986 (25) – .352/.394/.573 161+, MVP-2,AS, SS
            1987 (26) – .327/.378/.559 146+, MVP-7,AS, SS

            Well, take a look at Bernie during the title years:

            1996 (27) – .305/.391/.535 131+, MVP-17
            1997 (28) – .328/.408/.544 147+, MVP-17,AS
            1998 (29) – .339/.422/.575 160+, MVP-7,AS
            1999 (30) – .342/.435/.536 149+, MVP-11,AS
            2000 (31) – .307/.391/.566 140+, MVP-13,AS

            Mattingly was “the best player in baseball” in the mid 1980s because all sportswriters cared about was batting average and homeruns. OBP and SLG and OPS were virtual non-entities. Bernie, meanwhile, placed lower in his MVP races largely because he played in the steroid era and didn’t hit 40 or 50 home runs every year, but his peak was actually BETTER than Mattingly’s peak, in that both of them were giving basically the same levels of production and both of them were equally better than their peers, but Bernie was doing it at a harder defensive position.

            Sorry, I don’t see it.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

          Let’s just not go there, k? You know that’s not a fun topic for a lot of people.

          /sulks away, sad

        • eh, this is one of those times where i wish RAB had an edit button.

          while i do think Bernie was a better player than Mattingly, and almost all of the objective data is on my side, it’s just not going to be worth the shitstorm of “intangibles” and “get your nose out of the spreadsheets” arguments that are sure to follow.

          and Mattingly is my favorite player of all time.

          just forget i brought it up.

          • Joseph P. says:

            Nah. Here’s something for you.

            Bernie’s career stats: .297 .381 .477
            Mattingly’s career stats: .307 .358 .471

            Bernie made outs at a lesser rate than Donnie and slugged better (not much, but hey).

            Then we have the defensive spectrum:

            1B – LF – RF – 3B – CF – 2B – SS – C

            Other than DH, Mattingly played the easiest position on the diamond, though he did play it well. Bernie Williams played a much harder position, and hit better than Mattingly over a longer career.

            Bernie Williams > Don Mattingly


            • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

              Donnie got hurt you goofball. Of course Bernie’s prime lasted longer. Bernie also played on some of the best baseball teams EVER. Donnie NEVER did. And to my recollection Bernie never caught fire in any of the WS. Donnie never played there but I would assume he would have.

              You are really trying to say because Bernie played center that he is better on D than Donnie? That is a laughable. Donnie played 2nd and 3rd base and OF all well. I have never seen anybody in the infield with a better glove than Donnie.

              • Mike Pop says:

                Bernie never caught fire in the World Series ? Really ? I am not arguing for or against that but didnt he have all those home runs in the postseason ? Did he not hit that well in the Series really ?

              • Joseph P. says:

                1) Bernie was the all-time postseason home run leader until Manny passed him. And dude, it’s freakin’ Manny.

                2) Donnie played 8 career innings at third, and played ONE OUT during his career at 2nd. Totally irrelevant. He played a bunch in the OF, but at a corner, not the tougher CF like Bernie.

                3) I never said Bernie was better at CF than Donnie was at 1B. I said that CF is objectively a harder position to play. Center fielders, because they need to be good defenders, typically aren’t as good with the bat. Bernie got on base more and slugged better than Donnie in his career while playing a position geared towards lesser bats.

                4) Bernie was probably our best hitter in the 2003 World Series. He didn’t hit well otherwise, but his bat got them there, and there is no denying that. He had a .413 OBP and a .549 SLG in the LCS over his career. Don Mattingly led his team to the WS zero times.

                • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

                  Bernie was the all-time postseason home run leader because he was the all time GAMES PLAYED LEADER at that time and still might be.

                  See again you are looking stuff up to know how many innings Donnie played where. I know Donnie was not a career 3rd baseman, and I know he really did not play at 2nd except for a goof. My point was if Donnie had to play Center he would have done a respectable job. He would have had a lot of balls he would have had to dive for that is for sure.

                  One question I have to all the Bernie lovers is this. DID BERNIE WILLIAMS EVER EVER EVER DIVE? I never saw it. I saw him slide in the OF but NEVER DIVE.

                • My point was if Donnie had to play Center he would have done a respectable job.


                • Joseph P. says:

                  See, now you’re arguing hypotheticals. I don’t see how you come to the conclusion about Donnie in CF. He was a slow guy who clearly couldn’t cover enough ground to play a passable CF. The fact that he would have had to dive for a lot of balls only hurts that case.

                  I don’t usually do this, but I’m invoking my powers of Onwer Of This Joint. Unless you have something substantial — that is, a verifiable fact — to add to this argument, it’s over. Done. Now.

                • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

                  Me talking about Mattingly in CF was a joke. It was aimed at the fellow saying that Bernie because he played CF was better at D because of the position itself.

                  Also the part about diving was a joke because Bernie never liked to do such.

                  If for some reason you choose to ban me or whatever because you own the site please feel free to do so.

                  There are quite a few people who come on here and throw internet stats around as if they are some law written in stone. I think it is fairly clear that there are a great deal of early to mid twenties guys on here who have not seen a lot of baseball, let alone played any. The internet and stats are great tools but if they are used as anything more than just a piece of the pie it is very silly.

                  Have a good day, and again if I have broken some internet law please feel free to ban me for said offense.

                • Joseph P. says:

                  Why would we ban you? You had an argument to make. I just didn’t think you made it convincingly. The argument wasn’t that Bernie was better at D because of the position, it was that a high level of offensive output from a CF is more valuable than a high level of offensive output from a 1B. Totally different.

                  And they’re not Internet stats. We have cited very basic statistics here, OPS+ being the most complicated, and even that one is not complex.

                  Yeah, I’m 26, but I don’t think that makes a difference. I went to my first Yankees game at age 4. We had one TV in the house growing up, so I watched baseball every night, without fail. I don’t think it’s a fair argument to say that because you’re older you know more, because you’ve seen more. Plenty of young guys here grew up watching nothing but baseball.

                  All that said, there’s nothing unkosher going on here. We’re arguing, as baseball fans are wont to do. I only ended the argument because it was no longer developing.

                • Joseph P. says:

                  Mike, that was awesome. I’m going to add that to the toys (sad trombone, rimshot) I use in comments.

                • Speaking for myself, just because I throw around stats does not mean I don’t know baseball.

                  For the record, I’m 31 and I watched Donnie in his prime as a kid, and I was awed. I watched Bernie in is prime as a teenager, and I was awed. I’m not shitting on Donnie. But if you are asking me to pick, I pick Bernie, based on what I saw. The stats are merely a way for me to either confirm what I see in my minds eye or disprove what I’m not certain about.

                  Bernie was better. Both anecdotally and quantifiably.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  Yo Joe I just wanted everyone to know who the judge around these parts were

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

              Joe P. – During their respective primes… Do you take Bernie or Mattingly? Obviously Mattingly’s career numbers don’t hold up very well to comparison with guys like Bernie, but in his prime Mattingly was the superior hitter. And yeah, 1B is not a prime defensive position, but the guy was one of the best defensive first basemen ever. Gotta count for something.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

            Please bring facts, stats, something. I would even like to see a graph a chart or something.

            Intangibles nothing. Donnie was slow but a great base runner. Bernie was fast most of his career yet a terrible base runner. I am not talking about steals I am talking about the fundamentals of running the bases.

            Donnie was much better on D than Bernie was at very incomparable positions.

            Donnie NEVER hit with the same sort of lineups around him. The few years Donnie had people like Rickey and Winnie around him he did MONSTER numbers.

            Bernie NEVER EVER sniffed an MVP on a team that won 4 World Series, and went to 6 of them. If Donnie had been on those teams he would have had 3 MVP awards. He already won one of them and lost the other to a pitcher.

            Seriously this might be the dumbest thing said on these boards in a long time.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

            Just in case you NEED the stats I went and got links. I am not going to read them or case by case cut and paste them but if anybody on here never saw Donnie play just look at the numbers. Because if you got to see both play there was no question to who was the better baseball player.

            Donnie Baseball


            Bernie “Bambi” Williams


          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

            Ok ok… Don’t kill me… But the argument for Mattingly doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with joining the flat-Earth society and eschewing statistical analysis. Actually, I’m about to completely stop making any sense, but I think the reason why people love Mattingly is because his numbers didn’t wind up looking so impressive. The argument is actually that, in this one case, we don’t care about the numbers. Don Mattingly is, like, a tragic hero. He was this amazing player – he was an amazing hitter and a graceful, slick fielder. He was also extremely likeable. In a time when there were few bright spots for Yankees fans, he was really the guy fans followed and rallied behind. (It didn’t hurt that he was unfailingly humble and, let’s face it, it didn’t hurt that he’s a normal-looking white dude with a ‘stache so a lot of people identified with him.) So he was beloved when he was on top of his game. But I think his legend amongst Yankees fans of that era only grew when he went through his physical problems that sapped much of his power and athletic ability and forever changed his career. This was the one guy who was awesome back then, and he just hit some pretty freaking terrible luck with the injuries. Then, to top it all off, he has an amazing farewell by tearing it up in a losing effort against Seattle (that HR in the Stadium is one of my favorite sports memories), and retires a year before the dynasty begins. We love him for all of those things – for being the amazing player he was in the 80s, and for going through the tough years in the 90s.

            So whatever. Yeah, Bernie’s got better career numbers. But Mattingly was better. In fantasy-land, I’m drafting a baseball team, and I have a choice between Bernie Williams and Don Mattingly… It’s Donnie Baseball in a heartbeat. People who maybe came along a little later probably just don’t get it. He was just a very special player who a lot of fans have a very strong connection to. I’ve enjoyed every Yankees title I’ve witnessed, but none of them compare to how I’d feel if they had won with Mattingly on the team.

            (After writing all that I can’t ever really consider myself an enlightened fan again, can I. Whatever, Mattingly’s really my one true blind-spot, and I know why my feelings on the topic are silly.)

            • yeah, i agree.

              for that brief period, Mattingly was the balls. he was my favorite player growing up.

              but at some point, a player who can’t stay healthy is NOT AS GOOD as a player who can stay healthy.

              i don’t get why this is controversial.

              • but at some point, a player who can’t stay healthy is NOT AS GOOD as a player who can stay healthy.

                Not to mention an offensively productive player playing an excellent 1B is not as good as an offensively productive player playing a passable CF.

                • you aren’t going to convince some people of this point no matter how hard you try.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

                  “you aren’t going to convince some people of this point no matter how hard you try.”

                  Agreed. Look, I know Bernie objectively had the better career. I still take Donnie. It’s a blind-spot for me.

                • Agreed. Look, I know Bernie objectively had the better career. I still take Donnie. It’s a blind-spot for me

                  and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. after all, it’s just f’ing baseball.

                  there is room for sentimentality and having biases. we all love Mattingly b/c he was one of the ONLY bright spots on our favorite team when we were growing up.

                  i used his stance playing wiffle ball even though i am righty.

                  i have no problem with this.

                  what i have a problem with is when someone claims Mattingly is better and insults everyone who disagrees, even though there is almost no objective evidence to support their claim.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

                  Dave Winfiled says “Thanks”.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

                  change the “l” and “e”

                • i did say “one of the only bright spots”


                  Dan Pasqua?

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

                  “what i have a problem with is when someone claims Mattingly is better and insults everyone who disagrees, even though there is almost no objective evidence to support their claim.”

                  Yeah that guy’s just wired a little differently, methinks.

              • radnom says:

                To bring this back to how it came up….I think you can say that Mattingly was better in his prime but Bernie had unquestionably better career numbers.

                Considering that Mattingly is rated WAY HIGHER than Bernie, based largely on emotion, I have to say that you have a bunch better case arguing that Mattingly is overrated than you do Bernie.

      • Mike Pop says:

        “I think Jeter is the most overrated player in baseball”

        • UWS says:


          *Watches teh intertubes explode*

        • I think Steve Nash is the most overrated player in basketball.

          *watches Phoenix and Canada explode*

          • Mike Pop says:

            I know he grew up in Canada and all but he was born in South Africa wasnt he ?

            • Meh, if it’s not soccer or rugby, they probably don’t give a shit in South Africa.

              • CountryClub says:

                I think this is where a lot of people get turned off by the people that live and die with OBP, OPS, etc… I dont know how old a lot of you guys are and maybe you didnt actually see Donnie play. But just about anyone who did would tell you that Bernie was a very good player and Donnie was a great one. The only reason he’s not in the hall is because his back sapped his power. There are stats guys and there are “what do my eyes tell me guys” (including some GM’s like Gillick). I guess it just depends on what side of the line you fall on.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

                  Being on either side of your hypothetical line is foolish. It’s a superficial distinction.

                • See my above comment. I’m old enough to remember both. I don’t think that Donnie was overrated or underrated, I think he’s respected as one of the best players of his era, and he deserves it.

                  I DO however, think that Bernie is definitely underrated and doesn’t get credit for being one of the best players of his era, which he was. But he’s not remembered that way, likely because he came up as a speedy leadoff kid and then had a long, unimpressive tail to his career.

                  It’s not a “numbers vs. eyes” thing, it’s both. Both what you see watching the game and what shows up on the statsheet say that both Bernie and Mattingly were total offensive monsters.

                • I think this is where a lot of people get turned off by the people that live and die with OBP, OPS, etc… I dont know how old a lot of you guys are and maybe you didnt actually see Donnie play.

                  BTW, that’s bullshit too, because the people who are actively anti OBP and OPS are actively pro batting average and HR’s, and those two stats are the mantle on which Mattingly’s greatness is perched. So to say that “stats” don’t capture how much greater Mattingly was than Bernie is bullshit, because you’re still just elevating one set of stats over another, the very thing that supposed “statheads” are mocked for.

                • CountryClub says:

                  I dont comment a lot on this board and even if I did I wouldnt expect anyone to know my preferences. I’m a guy who looks at stats (all stats) and uses that information to supplement what I’ve seen for myself. I wasnt really referring to you or anyone in particular as a stathead. Instead I was talking about the people who soley base their opinions on the “new” stats while dismissing the old standbys as well as what they see with their own eyes. Anyway, it was a good debate that you guys had.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little morbidly funny that in a post about Bernie Williams being “not retired”, there’s an ad for ringtones by the late Bernie Mac?

  5. Wayne's World says:

    Though this will be familiar to those who know me, I always felt that Bernie was The Man. Definitely underrated. And always came through in big ways that aren’t always susceptible to statistical analysis.

    Anyway, as to the retirement thing, he’s just having some fun.

    Though, wouldn’t it be nice for him to play an inning or two in the new Not Yankee Stadium and then officially retire, maybe as part of an overdue Bernie Williams Day?



    I have been trying to find an excuse to write that for quite some time….finally..


    Steve (Diff one)
    you Here??

      • SAMIAMSPORTS says:

        Our arguement yesterday really got me thinking….
        After about ten minutes of deep thought. I Wrote a post about it on my blog. I would like you to read it abd let me know your thoghts . just click on my name . let me know.

        • that’s an impressive list you’ve come up with.

          where i tend to disagree is when we treat all people of a certain class (in this case “pitching prospects”) the same.

          i don’t think you can say ALWAYS trade prospects for veterans any more than we can say ALWAYS hold onto your prospects.

          what we have to have faith in is the organization’s ability to seperate the contenders from the pretenders. right now, the Yankees think Phil Hughes is the real deal. we can argue about that all day, but none of use really know YET.

          but Cashman isn’t “hoarding” his pitching prospects. he’s just trying to keep the good ones.

          in the last year, he’s traded Clippard, Ohlendorf, Karstens, McCutchen, and now Marquez. he’s gotten decent value for those guys.

          but he doesn’t want to trade Hughes, Betances, Brackman, and maybe Kennedy.

          isn’t that what we want? wasn’t the late 90′s dynasty fueled by trading away all of the crappy prospects like Ledee, Jimenez, Homer Bush, etc??

          i appreciate you asking my opinion. and you certainly have a valid argument that the time to strike was for Johan. i just think it’s dangerous to paint with such broad strokes.

          • SAMIAMSPORTS says:

            ok (deep breath)

            I do not think Hughes will be as good as Peavy .Period . It goes without saying my feelings about Johan.

            All those bums that Cash traded , yes he did get decent value. but these opportunities rarley (if ever ) come.
            We srewed up last year. Why screw up again just based on princapals that “we didnt trade him for Johan , So why trade him for peavy?”

            And FYI: Cashman had NOTHING to do with the late 90s teams . All watson.
            If you look at cashmans track record since “his players ” started infiltrating the team. We have never won. his moves for the most part were all questionable and 2nd guessed.

            thats all

            • And FYI: Cashman had NOTHING to do with the late 90s teams . All watson.

              well, Cashman took over in February of 1998 and did indeed trade all of those guys i mentioned.

              and he was the GM for 3 world series teams.

              yes, he inherited much of those rosters from watson and michael, but he was part of the front office during both of their regimes…

              anyway, that wasn’t my point.

              my point was that when Cashman needed to make a trade to get a player, he did a good job of trading prospects that largely didn’t amount to much with the occasional exception. perhaps “fueled” was a poor choice of word.

              we’re not going to get anywhere on Johan, so we are just going to have to agree to disagree.

              your point on Peavy is moot, as the latest is that Jake won’t come to NY.

              keep up the blog.

              • And FYI: Cashman had NOTHING to do with the late 90s teams . All watson.

                Ugh, why must everything be totally one thing or the other? Watson and Cashman and Michaels worked TOGETHER for the Yankees. In the same office. Plenty of those decisions pre-1998 had Cashman’s influence on them. To what extent is something that I’d love someone to do research on, but you simply cannot make sweeping generalizations like that without some evidence to support them.

                This is like saying that Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney had NOTHING to do with the Bush White House. It’s wrong, it’s spiteful, and it’s intellectually dishonest.

                You clearly have an irrational hatred for Brian Cashman, and it hampers your ability to think clearly.

  8. Mike Pop says:

    Yo tommie your Gammons bit in the Coco thread was great..

  9. Matt says:


    I loved, loved Bernie, but Yankee fans have moved on. Retire Bernie, come on, have a #51 day and get one of those fancy monuments in center.

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