Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Williams’

Thirteen new candidates have been added to the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot, but none have overwhelming credentials, which should bode well for Barry Larkin, Tim Raines, and Jeff Bagwell, three eminently deserving players snubbed by last year’s voting. However, it seems as if one of the new eligible players is being written off much too quickly. That’s really nothing new for Bernie Williams, whose career would have never gotten started had he yielded to those who dismissed him.

Bernie Williams’ Hall of Fame campaign faces an uphill battle on two fronts because he appears like a borderline candidate to both the traditional and sabermetricly-inclined factions of the electorate. On the one hand, the older members of the BBWAA are likely to balk at Williams’ relatively deflated counting stats, while those voters in tune with the latest sabermetric trends might be swayed by his less than eye-popping WAR. Both first impressions are worthy of a second look.

Hall of Fame Centerfielders and Upcoming Candidates, Ranked by OPS+ (click to enlarge)

Note: Includes Hall of Famers who played at least 50% of total games in centerfield as well as Bernie Williams, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jim Edmonds.
Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com


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On Tuesday, the Yankees were simply looking to survive. Tonight, they hope to conquer.

Thanks to the surprising performance of A.J. Burnett in game 4 of the division series, the Yankees escaped from Detroit with their World Series hopes intact and now face a sudden death playoff game for the first time since losing the 2005 ALDS to the Anaheim Angels.

Facing Sudden Death: Yankees’ History in Postseason Series Finales

Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Yankees have played in the most winner-take-all October showdowns, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the team’s playoff history encompasses 368 games to date. However, despite the franchise’s incomparable 48-22 record in all postseason series, the Bronx Bombers are only 11-10 when facing a mutual elimination. Of course, that speaks to how difficult it has been to knock the Yankees out in October. While fewer than one-fourth of their series wins have come gone to the wire, almost half of their loses have gone the distance.

Because the Yankees have played in almost 14% of all sudden death postseason games (21 of 152), many of the sport’s most dramatic October moments have involved the pinstripes (for a companion piece on sudden death games involving all teams, check out my latest post at Bronx Banter). In terms of WPA, five of the top-25 offensive performances in the history of deciding games have been recorded by Yankees. Perhaps the most famous such game is Chris Chambliss’ pennant winning homerun against the Kansas City Royals that sent the Yankees back to the World Series in 1976 for the first time in 12 years. Of course, younger fans of the Bronx Bombers are probably more partial to Aaron Boone’s long ball, which sealed the Red Sox fate in the 2003 ALCS. Either way, both moments not only rank among the most dramatic in Yankees’ history, but all of baseball lore.


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The Yankees rapped out 18 hits in yesterday’s 9-2 victory over the Indians, but not one wound up leaving the ballpark. It was only the 14th time all season that the Yankees failed to hit a home run, which should lighten the hearts of those overly concerned with the team’s “reliance” on the long ball.

The last time the Yankees recorded as many as 18 hits in the Bronx without sending one over the wall was the next to last game of the season in 1991 (there have been 14 occurrences since 1919). The opponent that day was also the Cleveland Indians, but this time the Tribe came out on the winning side, a paradox not uncommon for the Yankees in that era. During the game, every starter had a hit except third baseman Tory Lovullo, but the real standout was a rookie centerfielder named Bernie Williams.

Yankees’ Home Games with At Least 18 Hits and No Home Runs, Since 1919

Date Opp Rslt H LOB
6/12/2011 CLE W 9-1 18 9
10/5/1991 CLE L 5-7 19 18
7/20/1973 CHW W 12-2 20 10
8/27/1972 KCR W 9-8 26 18
8/3/1953 SLB W 11-3 18 11
7/19/1950 SLB W 16-1 21 13
9/14/1949 SLB W 13-7 19 11
6/20/1939 CHW W 13-3 19 11
6/22/1929 PHA W 4-3 18 14
6/20/1925 CHW W 12-2 22 10
7/18/1922 CHW W 14-4 20 9
6/26/1920 BOS W 14-0 18 7
8/28/1919 WSH W 5-4 19 14

Note: Click on date for link to box score.
Source: Baseball-reference.com


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Edmonds was best known for catches like this one against the Royals on June 10, 1997.

The official announcement of Jim Edmonds’ retirement on Friday went largely unnoticed, which was kind of fitting because that’s mostly how the All Star centerfielder’s 17-year career was treated. Edmonds has always been a player best known for either making highlight reel catches or coming down with a nagging injury (he only had four seasons with 150 or more games played), sometimes doing both on the same play. A closer look, however, reveals what Edmonds really was: a legitimate candidate for the Hall of Fame.

When most people think about Hall of Fame centerfielders, names like Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle come to mind. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why the immediate reaction to Edmonds’ candidacy would be dismissive. Once you get past that immortal quintet, however, Edmonds follows very closely behind, at least according to Sean Smith’s version of WAR.

Hall of Fame Centerfielders (and Upcoming Candidates), Ranked by WAR

Ty Cobb 3034 13068 159.4 117 1938 0.366 0.433 0.512 168
Willie Mays 2992 12493 154.7 660 1903 0.302 0.384 0.557 155
Tris Speaker 2789 11988 133 117 1529 0.345 0.428 0.500 157
Mickey Mantle 2401 9909 120.2 536 1509 0.298 0.421 0.557 172
Joe DiMaggio 1736 7671 83.6 361 1537 0.325 0.398 0.579 155
Ken Griffey Jr. 2671 11304 78.5 630 1836 0.284 0.370 0.538 135
Jim Edmonds 2011 7980 68.3 393 1199 0.284 0.376 0.527 132
Duke Snider 2143 8237 67.5 407 1333 0.295 0.380 0.540 140
Richie Ashburn 2189 9736 58 29 586 0.308 0.396 0.382 111
Max Carey 2476 10770 50.6 70 800 0.285 0.361 0.386 107
Larry Doby 1533 6302 47.4 253 970 0.283 0.386 0.490 136
Bernie Williams 2076 9053 47.3 287 1257 0.297 0.381 0.477 125
Edd Roush 1967 8156 46.5 68 981 0.323 0.369 0.446 127
Earl Averill 1669 7215 45 238 1164 0.318 0.395 0.534 133
Kirby Puckett 1783 7831 44.8 207 1085 0.318 0.360 0.477 124
Earle Combs 1455 6507 44.7 58 632 0.325 0.397 0.462 125
Hack Wilson 1348 5556 39.1 244 1063 0.307 0.395 0.545 144
Lloyd Waner 1993 8326 24.3 27 598 0.316 0.353 0.393 99

Note: Includes Hall of Famers who played at least 50% of total games in centerfield.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Despite being sabermetrically inclined, I still have my suspicions regarding both predominant versions of WAR. However, when any metric states a player ranks among the best at his position, it is wise to take notice. Using more traditional statistics, Edmonds would still rank among the top-10 Hall of Fame centerfielders in terms of OPS+, runs and RBIs, not to mention fourth in homeruns. By just about any measure, Edmonds was one of the best centerfielders to every play the game. But, is that enough to warrant election to the Hall of Fame? (more…)

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