Bernie Williams: Comparable to Bobby Murcer and Devon White, Not Mantle or Joe D

by on March 5th, 2015
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In 1998, Bernie Williams won the batting title, a Gold Glove and finished seventh in the MVP voting. That wasn’t good enough for the “experts.”

Williams, they concluded, was about as popular as Joey Cora with respect to attracting television audiences. His statistics placed him in Bobby Murcer’s, not Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio’s category.

After six seasons, Williams had 1,096 hits, 126 homers, 566 RBIs and a .298 batting average in 938 games.

Murcer had 1,012 hits, 140 home runs, 542 RBIs and a .282 batting average in 958 games).

Free agent Bernie Williams didn’t “deserve” to ever be baseball’s highest paid player.

Please remember that the next time you hear the “experts.”

Mark McGwire, Albert Belle, Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro hit home runs, said the authorities. Williams’ career high had been 29 in 1996.

The fewest home runs baseball’s highest paid position player hit in any season from 1990-97 was 32.

In 2012, we know that McGwire and Palmeiro had help in reaching their home run totals. Belle’s career ended after the 2000 season, Vaughn was a disaster for the New York Mets and Sosa cheated. We’ll leave Piazza alone.

The “experts” used the Los Angeles Dodgers signing of 36-year-old center fielder Devon White to evaluate Bernie Williams. The Dodgers gave White a three-year contract worth $12.4 million.

Los Angeles general manager Kevin Malone explained why he didn’t go after Williams.

“Bernie’s a quality player, but Devon White is an All-Star, a premier defensive player and a 20-20 guy. I don’t see Bernie being three times better. I don’t know if he can carry a club.”

Malone is currently a part owner of an automobile dealership in Santa Clarita, Ca.

Colorado Rockies general manager Bob Gebhard took the money that might have been used to obtain Williams to sign Lenny Harris, Kurt Abbott, southpaw Brian Bohanon and center fielder Darryl Hamilton.

Gehhard resigned in 1999. He is the Arizona Diamondbacks vice president and assistant to the general manager.

A National League scout concluded that if Williams didn’t hit home runs, he couldn’t be that good.

“Is Bernie going to get you 40 home runs and 120 RBIs? I don’t think so. Does he go to a team like Arizona and turn it around? I don’t think so.

“Do you want to build a team around Bernie Williams? You’d better have a lot of other stuff.”

Thank goodness we have great scouts that help to build winning teams.

Even highly respected Tom Verducci got it wrong.

“If the Yankees determine they can’t sign Williams, they could trade left-hander Andy Pettitte for Anaheim Angels center fielder Jim Edmonds, trade three of their best prospects for Montreal Expos center fielder Rondell White or sign offensively challenged center fielder Steve Finley.”

In 1998, Finley batted .249 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs for the San Diego Padres.

In 1999, Finley batted .264 with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bernie Williams has always been under appreciated. He had a career that is just short of making him a Hall of Famer, which would be nice, but Williams has some things that trump the Hall of Fame.

Williams has four World Series rings.


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