Bernie Williams and the Hall of Fame


Bernie Williams headlines the pack of 13 newcomers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, though the nerdsheet indicates that he’s unlikely to get inducted. Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Zimmerman looked at Bernie’s case for the Hall by factoring his postseason performance into his career fWAR. He had more than twice as many playoff plate appearances (545) as any other player, and amount that basically equals a full extra season. Ultimately, it’s still not enough for Bernie to be considered a Hall of Fame caliber player, but make no mistake, he was great. Just not great enough for long enough.

The 2012 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Monday.

Categories : Asides


  1. THE KID says:

    Just a thought…

    If stats matter how is Pete Rose not in? Of course his wagering as a manager was unacceptable. But what did that have to do with his accomplishments as a player?

    Then they flip the argument for someone like Bernie…class act, team leader & total professional…but his stats aren’t good enough.

    Just one example off the top of my head, there are so many more hypocrisies.

    Regardless, Bernie Williams IS a Hall of Famer.

    • Soriano Is A Liar says:

      Just another thought – Pete Rose is really the only player who has unbelievable stats and was blackballed, for doing something considered so unacceptable that he was banned for life. I agree, he should absolutely be in the Hall, but it’s not as if writers routinely ignore players with his kinds of numbers just because they don’t like them. The same is happening to Mark McGuire right now, but that’s a bit of a different case, where there are major questions about whether he is truly a hall of fame player, or if it was all smoke and mirrors. Someone like Bonds will be a better comp: his numbers on their own are obviously enough to get in, even if you took away the “steroid years”, but many writers feel that using steroids at all should be an instant DQ.

      • Kosmo says:

        McGuire was all about HRs most of which came in bundles during his steroid years, if you look at other criteria he´s really not that great .263 average, 1626 hits, 252 doubles.

        • Soriano Is A Liar says:

          Exactly, that’s why I think it’s fair to exclude him, because it appears the steroids were the main reason for his only stand out category. With a player like Bonds, or A-rod, they fit more in the Rose mold, of someone who is probably worthy of the Hall, even if you lessen their achievements due to some PED use, but will face opposition from people that just think steroids are the ultimate disqualifier.

    • Zack D says:

      Because Rose the person was permanently banned.

      • Pat D says:

        And yet someone posted a link in last night’s open thread with confirmed HOF ballots from this year and apparently people are still writing in Rose.

        I guess the whole NOT ELIGIBLE thing still means shit to some stupid fucking writers.

        • RetroRob says:

          Could be protest votes, writers unhappy that that MLB basically removed the vote from their hands. Nothing really wrong with that since a write-in doesn’t cost another player a chance to be elected.

          • Jamey says:

            There’s a few writers that don’t like the hypocrisy of the entire system. Football Hall has the same thing going on too, I wish I could remember where I read it, maybe Deadspin, but a few years back one of the other football hall voters wrote in & just went off on Peter King politicking against a player with whom he had a rather noted feud with. So he said he’d pretty much just vote against anyone Peter King spoke up for who was a “bubble guy”. The best way to remove an unjust system is turning is revolting against it. Maybe these guys see wasting votes on Pete Rose as their way of doing that.

            • Jamey says:

              “unjust system is turning is revolting against it.” ughh I have no idea how many times I’ve turned auto-correct & auto-suggest off on my phone. I hate you Google.

        • Rainbow Connection says:

          Why are you so angry? We’re talking about voting for people who throw and hit balls around in front of dumb spectators. We’re not talking about anything important.

    • David K. says:

      Bernie is a HOF. He was one of the top two or three centerfielders in the game for 7-8 years. I don’t like grouping all outfielders together. Most of the corner outfielders were corner outfielders for a reason; they could not have played centerfield for any extended period of time in their dreams. Bernie’s biggest pluses are that he was a great clutch hitter and a great team player but these things are paid “no never mind” in Hall of Fame voting. I don’t know if the idiots who vote will let him take his rightful place in the Hall, but I know he was one of the best players in his era and obviously, there are plenty of fans like The Kid who agree with me.

  2. Jamey says:

    Just so we’re clear where The Hall of Fame is considered.

    1. Gambling
    2. Steroid Use
    3. Suspicion of Steroid Use

    1. Child Molestation


    • Evan3457 says:

      Right or wrong, there is no expulsion mechanism for the Hall of Fame.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Bill Conlin is not in the Hall of Fame. Neither is Gammons. So we’re clear on that.

      • Pat D says:


        People are mistaking the importance of the Frick and Spink Awards. As Rob Neyer has said many times, the men who win those awards have their names added to a plaque that sits in a relatively unpublicized section of the Hall.

      • Jamey says:

        He has plaque in Cooperstown & the BBWA could have decided to take away his Frick award & have him removed. They didn’t. Because he’s one of the brothers in “The Keepers of The Hall” who protect the “pristine legacy” of the Hall like those guys in The Last Crusade protecting the holy grail. They make the call that they will absolutely not vote for people who are associated with steroids in anyway, they will intentionally not vote for a 1st ballot Hall of Famer purely because they don’t believe anyone should get in unanimously because Babe Ruth didn’t get in unanimously so in their minds that means no one ever should. They preach & pride themselves on this sense of purity then turn into gigantic hypocrites when one of their own does something very disgusting, because he’s one of them.

    • Rainbow Connection says:

      Bill Clinton agrees.

  3. Bernie/Pettitte/Posada are all 3 guys who in the Hall of Very Good but not Fame…shame.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Posada might make it in eventually. Pettitte could have made it if he pitched another 2-3 years but I think his retirement will keep him out. He could have racked up 15 wins/season playing for the yankees in his sleep. Hall voters love the W’s….

  4. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Bryan Kenny made a good case for Bernie over at MLB, During a 12 year span Bernie had a .401 OBA better than Pucckett. He was also better in postseason. There are other parameters in which Bernie was the equal or surpassed Kirby.

    • Evan3457 says:

      Bernie was “more” in the post-season that Puckett. He wasn’t “better”.

      • Soriano Is A Liar says:

        Plus Puckett is widely regarded as one of the weakest selections to the hall. Like Bernie, he’s not a bad player, but many people feel that, like Bernie, he doesn’t have the longevity to being in the Hall.

      • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

        I agree he was more in the postseason, but he took full advantage of it still holding a few records. Plus on a long scale Bernie played in better teams in a tougher division facing the best pitchers in all other clubs.

      • RetroRob says:

        Bernie was better than Puckett, who was a creation of the MetroDome. His home/road splits are dramatic. Bernie was the same home and road. Puckett was a better fielder for the length of his carerr, but I’ll take Bernie over Puckett.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Bernie is a better choice than Puckett, but that says more about Puckett than Bernie.

      • LI Kevin says:


      • Rich in NJ says:

        Nonetheless, Puckett is in, so Bernie should be as well.

        • Bern Baby says:

          This is a lame argument. Jim rice is perhaps the worst inductee and yet that shouldn’t make it easier for any one else.

          Puckett is also a special case – because of the team and city, his type of injury, and his last season.

          • Sweet Dick Willie says:

            the team and city, his type of injury, and his last season.

            None of which should have any bearing whatsoever on his HOF worthiness.

            • Pat D says:

              Agreed, but they did. The voters felt he was cheated of several years where they must have felt he was a lock to get 3000 hits.

              Which is just one good reason why you don’t vote on sentiment.

              • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

                Exactly. This is such specious “reasoning.”. I mean shit, what would Donnie Baseball have achieved if he hadn’t hurt his back? Thing is…he did. And he’s not in the hall. Ent even sniff it. But man that 5-6 year stretch was absolutely frickin insane. Coming when it did, in the midst of an awful Yankees drought, made it all the more special for fans.

          • Rich in NJ says:

            No, what’s lame is to ignore the reality that the players who have already been voted in have altered the standard for what is a HoF, and as a result, to exclude Bernie, who is better than those players, is nonsensical.

            • Pat D says:

              I’m a Big Hall kind of guy, but I still have my own belief of what makes a HOF, and Bernie just doesn’t quite get there. I don’t think you should elect guys because another guy got in. Lee Smith shouldn’t be in because Bruce Sutter is. Bernie shouldn’t be in because Kirby Puckett and Jim Rice are.

              • Rich in NJ says:

                Context is everything in life, so I don’t see why HoF voting is an exception.

                Lee Smith can be viewed as a compiler. IOW, great aggregate stats due to hanging around a long time with a less than great peak.

                That’s not indicative of Bernie’s career production.

                Bernie had an OPS >.900 for seven consecutive seasons playing a premium defensive position, and eight consecutive seasons of an OPS > .875. That’s corner OF production by a CF. Then add in his postseason greatness, and imo, he’s a HOF.

          • RetroRob says:

            Jim Rice is not the worst inductee. Not even close. I did not support his induction, but he is not the worst inductee of all time and he did not lower the standard.

            • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

              But how did he not lower the standard?? Just saying he didn’t doesn’t make it so, particularly since, you know, he got voted in.

            • Pat D says:

              I would agree he’s not the worst inductee. He’s one of the worst inductions made by the BBWAA.

              As for “standards,” well, it depends what you view as “standards.” To me it would seem that if you don’t consider him in the top half of HOF’ers at his position, which I don’t think he is, then, yes, he did lower the “standard.”

  5. Kosmo says:

    Bernie is an interesting case. He might one day make the HOF on a Veterans committee vote.
    Ron Santo 3B who I thought was very deserving of the HOF in his lifetime finally got in posthumously. George Kell 3B got into the HOF on a Veterans committee vote, was certainly one of the most undeserving HOFs ever.
    Phil Rizzuto HOF ? Love Phil but certainly undeserving.

    • Pat D says:

      I always like to point out that Phil lost 3 prime seasons to World War 2.

      I mean, how many home runs would Ted Williams have hit if he hadn’t lost about 5 total years to WW2 and Korea? It’s fun to wonder.

      George Kell definitely doesn’t belong.

      • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

        Exactly. And if some voters figured Kirby would’ve reached 3000 hits but for his condition, I don’t see any reason why Phil shouldn’t be accorded the same sort of sympathy vote for his lost playing time.

      • Kosmo says:

        Ted Williams is a baseball immortal, in MO if you factor in Rizzuto´s 3 lost seasons due to WW 2 his is still a borderline case.

    • RetroRob says:

      You know, I’ve actually warmed to Rizzuto and the HOF over the years. Interestingly, some of the more advanced metrics have strengthned his case on context and on fielding. Many of the all-time lists for SSs have Rizzuto in the 11-16 range, and while my inclination was and remains that he’s not a HOFer, I no longer think it’s clear he’s underserving, and he certainly does not lower the standard.

  6. CP says:

    I definitely think he should get in, but I’m generally have a ‘big tent’ attitude and I’d rather have more marginal candidates get in than leaving excellent and famous players out.

  7. gc says:

    As long as #51 gets retired at Yankee Stadium, I’m cool.

    • Bern Baby says:

      51 is an interesting case. He was better and more important to the franchise than Mattingly, but his quiet demeanor never really fit the city. Plus I really wonder who prioritizes these calls these days.

  8. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    The truth is that there many other good ballplayers on the Yankee teams that Bernie played in. However, no one . but Bernie hit 22HR, drove in 80 runs and is second in hits only to Jeter. A few of the guys could have done it, but they did not. I know that it is going to be difficult to get in on the first ballot, but as the years go by he will be more appreciated by the doubting Yankee fans and others.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      There were many…

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      The problem is that Bernie might not get 5%

      • Pat D says:

        Which would be a shame. I figured he’d be in that Dale Murphy/Dave Parker/Don Mattingly realm of between 10-20% every year.

      • RetroRob says:

        Yeah, that’s the interesting part right now. There are some writers, including some sabermetrically oriented ones, who are supportive of Bernie’s case. Yet they are the minority. If I find out on Monday he got 2% and drops off the ballot, I would not be surprised. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he got more than 10%.

        If he survives his first ballot, I normally would say he’s the type of player who might continue to improve, yet the cluster of great players about to hit the ballot, coupled with the hold overs, and the entire steroid issue that threatens to paralyze the HOF voting process in coming years, probably means that even if Bernie survives this year, he will fall off next year.

        I’ve always been in the “not enough” to be a HOFer camp, but some of the pro-Bernie analysts have at least gotten me to take a look again. I do find it interesting that there are writers who will penalize a player for steroids, figuring that steroids took a a player like McGwire or Palmeiro from the very good to the HOF class, but if that’s the case, why don’t they do the opposite? Give extra credit to players who appeared to be clean and competed against the steroid guys.

        While there is no way of knowing who took what and when, I’m fairly confident that Bernie was not a roidster. The awkwardly quiet, jazz guitarist who never was a workout fiend, and whose career pretty much ended by 33, seems to be in the clean camp. If writers want to penalize the stats of the roidsters, they might want to then consider giving extra credit to the clean players competing against the PED users.

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