Hall of Fame Debate – Bernie Williams

Nov 12, 2008

Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor and I have decided to team up and debate Bernie Williams’ Hall of Fame worthiness.

2076 Games
7869 At Bats
.297 Batting Average
1366 Runs
2336 Hits
449 Doubles
55 Triples
287 Home Runs
1257 RBI
1069 Walks (84th All-time)
147 Stolen Bases

Eight .300 Seasons
Eight 100+ Run Seasons
Six 30+ Double Seasons
One 30+ HR Season
Five 100+ RBI Seasons

Playoffs: 121 Games, 128 hits in 465 at bats (.275), 83 Runs, 29 Doubles, 22 HR, 80 RBI, 71 Walks, 8 Steals, 4 World Series Ring

4 Gold Gloves
2002 Silver Slugger
5 All-Star Game Appearances
MVP Votes in 6 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Four Times (Batting Crown in 1998)
On-Base % – Five Times
Slugging % – Twice
OPS – Four Times
Games – Twice
At-Bats – Once
Runs – Three Times
Hits - Three Times
Doubles – Twice
Triples – Four Times
RBI – Once
Walks – Three Times
Intentional Walks – Four Times (Led League in 1999)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks
Black Ink: Batting – 4 (405) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting – 61 (402) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting – 48.3 (82) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting – 133.0 (100) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Lester’s Take
If I were just considering his regular season accomplishments I would have to shut down Bernie immediately. He was above average with eight years of .300 or better.  He also scored 100 or more Runs eight times and knocked in 100 or more five times.  He was a excellent defensive player and had a little speed (seven seasons with 10+ SBs).  While those are decent numbers, they just don’t scream “Hall of Fame”.   That is until you look at the mark he left in the playoffs.  His playoff totals look like a full season’s worth.  It’s unbelievable.  83 Runs, 128 Hits, 29 Doubles, 22 HRs, 80 RBI.  All Hall of Fames, including Cooperstown have traditionally given extra merit to those who played on dynasties.  You may disagree with that, but that is a factor in Hall of Fame induction.  To me Bernie’s solid regular season and extraordinary postseason are enough to get my vote. 

Rotoprofessor’s Take
Before I even look at the career numbers of Bernie Williams, my thoughts are that he was a good player, maybe even a very good player, who played for a great team. If he had played for the Rockies or Royals or Rangers or some other run of the mill team, would we be having this discussion? I just don’t believe we should award a player by enshrining him among the all-time greats because some great players who helped him win a few championships surrounded him. Yes, he was a tremendous player in the postseason and certainly played his part in helping the Yankees win 4 titles during his tenure with the team, but he was hardly a superstar. I’m not going to honor him because of what he did over 121 games, as opposed to the 2,076 he played during the regular season where he hit .297 with just 287 home runs and 147 stolen bases. Over 16 major league seasons, he appeared in just 5 All-Star games. Exactly what is special about that? The Yankees should honor him for his career, absolutely. Put up a monument for him or put him into the Yankees Hall of Fame, I really don’t care. He was a great Yankee who brought great prestige to the franchise, but he is far from one of the elite to have ever played the game. That means it is a resounding no for me, he would never get my vote.

Previous Hall of Fame Debates
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines

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31 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Rad
    November 12th, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    As an unabashed Yankee fan, I’m putting him. Bernie Baseball was a great Yankee. But as an unbiased fan of the game, I’d have to say…no. The playoffs went to the 3 round format at the same time the Yankees started winning again. So a lot of his post-season numbers were accumulated over 3 rounds vs 2 rounds. I think a lot of his postseason numbers will look less impressive as the years go on.
    Nice post.

  2. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    Fair enough Rad. Like to see the unbiased nature. Historically the key members of dynasties have made it. That in part, perhaps more than the actual numbers gets him in for me.

  3. David Funk
    November 12th, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    I really hadn’t even thought of Bernie as a Hall of Fame player, but without his post-season numbers, this isn’t a debate. I liked the way he played the game, and what he did in helping the Yankees get back to winning baseball games.

    However, I have to respectfully agree with rotoprofessor on this one. As much as he helped the Yankees win, he was fortunate to there when he was. But I do agree that dynasties do help a player’s cause. Plus not to mention, he played for the most well-known team in baseball(if not all of sports) which helps his case, too.

    I think Bernie was very good baseball player. But he’s not a Hall of Fame player in my book.

    For the record, I like seeing unbiased views from one Yankee fan(rad) and one who is not(Lester). I have to admit I kind of laughed to see a Red Sox fan that would vote for him, and a fellow Yankee fan who said he shouldn’t get in. You don’t see that everyday! LOL!

    Nice job again!

  4. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    There are plenty of players in the HOF becuase of circumstances beyond their control. Can Bernie help it if he played there when they were winning? No. He was part of that climate that made them get there. There are other great players, like Paul O’Neill, that I wouldn’t put in. I just think Bernie was such a key player on that dynasty team.

  5. Rad
    November 12th, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    Dave, nice to see you here dude, and the Red Sox-Yankee fan voting was funny, it didn’t hit me until you said it.
    Lester, I agree that you can’t control who you play for or when you play, but there were other center fielders of his era that outplayed him and put up better numbers (Griffey Jr, Albert Belle). He has no MVP awards, 1 batting title, and only 4 gold gloves. The championships and playoff numbers might get him over the hump, plus he was an integral part of a Dynasty as you brought up, but in my opnion he doesn’t deserve it. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good.
    I wouldn’t put O’Neil in either. These guys should go into the Yankee Hall of Fame, but not Cooperstown.
    I wouldn’t complain if he did get in, but I think a lot of former players would.

    I love this discussion.

    Nice blog man.

  6. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    Rad very pursuasive arguement. Yankee HOF is a no-brainer. Perhaps Cooperstown is too (as in not in), but I’m failing to see it. You guys are probably right.

  7. Larry Novak
    November 12th, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    You know I am also a Yankee fan except this year I was on the Rays bandwagon since May. But I think Rad said it best
    But if he was to get in I do not think that historians would look back and say they were Crazy to put him either.
    He is a Yankee HOFer and should have his # retired. But I have to say not qiute good enough, and that hurts me to say that.

  8. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    I may have to rethink my position.

  9. Larry Novak
    November 12th, 2008 at 7:02 pm #

    I think it is a tough call, I never look at Baseball through yankee Colored Glasses.

    But Hey Why isn’t Horace Clarke in the HOF? After all he did break up 3 no-hitters in the 9th inning in I think it was 1967. Isn’t that enough to get him In?? ha ha

  10. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    Good one.

  11. Rad
    November 12th, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Ryan, I was hoping you would stick it out, if you could convince a few people we might get him in lol
    I really hope Jeter gets 3,000 hits and wins a few more rings so he doesn’t have to go through this.

  12. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Rad – If Jeter retired today he would be a HOF. No doubt in my mind.

  13. Larry Novak
    November 12th, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    Jeter is a slam dunk first ballot HOFer unless he does something very stupid in his life and I do not think that will happen,

  14. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    Agree on both fronts Larry.

  15. David Funk
    November 12th, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    I’m with Rad on this all the way. It’s a good debate, and he pretty much beat me to the punch on what I wanted to say. And I’m with you guys that he definitely belongs in the Yankee Hall of Fame without question.

    Now this is what I call a good debate without personal feelings getting involved. But what’s the world coming to if Lester and Rad can keep the debate civil while representing as fans of rival teams! DOH!

    I really like these Hall of Fame debates with two different perspectives as well as thought-provoking comments, too.

  16. LestersLegends
    November 12th, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    David – no doubt. weird debate

  17. Rad
    November 13th, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    David and Ryan-Agreed as well Very strange, especially with that big 1995 AL East Championship banner on the right side of the page burning a hole in my cornea lol
    Good points made by everyone, I linked to this post on my blog, hope you mind Ryan.
    Good work

  18. LestersLegends
    November 13th, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    Rad – funny. You could do a hold darn page of the Yankees’ titles. That little old thing shouldn’t bug you too much. Ha.

    Feel free to link it, and I’m gonna add you to my links as well.

  19. Willierod1834
    April 1st, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Bern Baby Bern: Ask yourself if you take away Bernies numbers in the post season Do the Yankees win 4 championships? Answer No No No Bernie Williams was Mr. Clutch- now take away Jeters #’s do the Yankees Win Answer Yes. Bernie carried the Yankees Dynasty in the 90′s. but Jeter got the glory. the HOF should welcome a true ballplayer (no juice) with open arms as the Yankees should retire #51 immediately. Because a guy goes to work and gets the job done and does it in a way that brings great pride to the team shouldnt he be a 1st ballot? Yes Bernie thank you for the 4 rings to add to the coffers.

  20. LestersLegends
    April 1st, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    first ballot…no. eventually…yes

  21. Larry
    April 1st, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    Looking back I was a little hesitant. But when we talk about Curt Schilling we say his post Season numbers puts him in. So saying that when you take his complete body of work I would have to say Yes he should get in eventually.

  22. LestersLegends
    April 1st, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    Atta boy Larry.

  23. erik
    July 26th, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    he just misses. it is common sense. there are tons of outfielders with similiar stats. but he is a yankee. if he played for the tigers we wouldnt be having this conversation. if trammel and whitaker played for the yankees they would be in the hall of fame. if jack morris and bert blyleven played for the yankees they would be in. just playing in new york they want to throw you in. look at that bum gary carter. how the fu?k is he in the hall of fame. because he played ine new york. someone please explain to me how gary carter is in there? Everyone knows im right. there is no argument and if you try you will be destroyed.

  24. LestersLegends
    July 26th, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    His regular season stats put Bernie close. His playoff numbers put him in for me.

    I agree Gary Carter was far from deserving, especially with Ted Simmons not being in.

  25. erik
    July 26th, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    i will put bernie in before those roided up freaks and gary carter. they playoff numbers are impressive but mantle and ruth didnt all those playoff games to jack their stats up. just imagine babe ruth or mantle playing a five game series and 2 seven game series every year. it is impressive but we have to consider that. after thinking about he will get in probably by the vc one day. the yankees have sucked and havent one since they had guys like bernie, paul oneil, scott brosious. they just pay and trade for guys like abreu and arod and sheffield.

  26. LestersLegends
    July 26th, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    the extra series has helped him no doubt, but the dude has delivered

  27. makstreet
    August 10th, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    Add my Bookmark

  28. Doug
    August 5th, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Obviously, I’m late to the conversation, but Bernie was not that great of a post-season player. His post-season batting average & on-base % were LESS than his regular season averages & his slugging % was about the same. Virtually anyone who plays a ton of post-season games is going to have a tons of hits, etc.

  29. LestersLegends
    August 5th, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    He was clutch though.

  30. dj
    September 21st, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    todly man favrit player

  31. dj
    September 21st, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    fav yeah todly

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