Monday, September 26, 2005

Bye bye Bernie?

So yesterday was the first time I witnessed a great Yankee possibly wave goodbye to the stadium. I was watching in 2001 when Paul O’Neill played his final game but considering I’d only seen my first ever game 48 hours previously, I didn’t understand was a legend in Pinstripes he was.

Go forward four years and Bernie Williams played the last regular season game at THTRB under his current contract. He may well return next year at a vastly reduced salary but that is yet to be determined. The guitar playing Puerto Rican has been the Center Fielder for the Yankees throughout their dynasty run of four World Championships in five years and has set many records along the way.

He has the most Home Runs, RBI’s and Hits in postseason play in the history of the game. Four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, five time All-Star and a batting champion from the all conquering 1998 season. His place in the all time Yankee greats is secure and with one more hit he’ll tie Joe Di Maggio on the hit list in Pinstripes.

We all hope he’s back in October for some bonus baseball and one more chance to show our thanks to #51. He received several standing ovations last night and took a curtain call in the bottom of the eighth inning. Deep down I think that Bernie would prefer a part-time role with the Yankees than a full-time role somewhere else where postseason play is unlikely. He has earned enough money in his career for that to be an overriding concern; a one-year $1m deal to return to pinstripes would not shock me as he wants to be remembered as a Yankee.

Bernie has been a fine player and servant to the game and to the Bombers, but he will probably fall short of Cooperstown recognition. He’ll have some support amongst writers but I can’t see him making it, but he’ll bounce about on the form for many years I am sure.

So all in all I just want to say thank you to Bernie Williams. A fine ambassador to the game and a true Yankee. I can only hope that if this is his last season in Pinstripes then it’ll end under the glare of a World Series, which is what a man of his stature deserves.

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