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Bernie and the Yanks (From the Outside Looking In)
2007-02-26 06:24
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

By Rich Lederer (Guest Columnist)

Winter has turned to spring - well, at least when it comes to the baseball calendar - and, for the first time in more than 20 years, Bernie Williams is not in Tampa or Fort Lauderdale, taking batting practice and shagging down fly balls.

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Yankees on September 13, 1985, Williams has spent 21 of his 38 years roaming the outfields in Florida, Oneonta, Prince William, Albany, Columbus, New York, and dozens of other minor and major league cities. He has been one of those rare one-team players, who re-upped with the Yanks on two occasions. Sure, he almost left the Bronx for the greener pastures of, gasp, Boston in 1998. But he took it upon himself to meet with the Boss and the two sides worked out a seven-year, $87.5 million contract that was virtually identical to the offer made by the Red Sox.

After Bernie's multi-year deal ran out, he agreed to return in 2006 for $1.5 million. Expected to be the fourth outfielder, Williams was thrust into a starting role when Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield landed on the DL for an extended period. He started 104 games, playing mostly in RF but also in CF, LF, and as a DH.

Melky Cabrera also benefited from the injuries and emerged as a viable fourth outfielder for 2007, rendering Williams nothing more than a pinch hitter who could also serve as a fifth outfielder and an occasional designated hitter. Bernie filed for free agency at the end of October and the Yankees opted not to offer him salary arbitration. Not wanting to guarantee the 16-year veteran a roster spot, the Yankees offered him a non-roster invitation to spring training in late January.

Nearly four weeks have passed and Williams sits home in Westchester County, N.Y., waiting to see if a guaranteed job opens up for him. Earlier this month, Bernie told the the New York Daily News, "I'm working out, but I think the way it looks right now, it doesn't seem like I'm going to be playing with that team this year." That team? Yikes. I can sense the anger all the way out here in Southern California.

What's going on here? Who's at fault for allowing the situation to get to this point? Is Bernie an asset or a liability at this stage in his career? Let me see if I can offer a non-partisan viewpoint on this hotly debated subject.

OK, let's take these questions one at a time. "What's going on here?" Well, a Yankees great is nearing the end of the road and the club no longer has a guaranteed roster spot for him. Look, these things happen. It happened last year with Tim Salmon and the Angels. Salmon, like Williams, had played his entire career with the team that originally signed him. Unlike Bernie, the all-time Angels great missed the previous season due to an injury. Salmon did not file for free agency and the Halos, unsure of his health status, offered him a minor league contract and an invitation to camp. With a good spring, Tim earned a spot on the roster and was a productive force as a PH and part-time DH, playing only four games in the field all season.

"Who's at fault for allowing the situation to get to this point?" Without being privy to all the conversations that took place, this one is a difficult question to answer fairly. I believe Brian Cashman should have sat down with Bernie during the off-season to explain the situation to him. "You have been a great Yankee. We appreciate everything you have contributed over the years. Going forward, we would like you to remain with the organization in some capacity but, to be candid, we're just not sure if there will be a spot for you on the roster this season. It all depends on whether we trade Melky as well as some other moves we may or may not make. You're a free agent and you can do as you please, but I'd like to invite you to spring training and give you an opportunity to make the club. I can't promise you anything, but I know Joe would like to have you on the team, if at all possible. If this works for you, great. If not, I can understand that, too. Either way, I just wanted to extend you the courtesy of letting you know what was on our minds." Unfortunately, I don't believe this meeting ever took place. If it had, I would say it was up to Bernie to accept Cashman's offer, sign with another team (which really wasn't an option he wanted to pursue due to his goal of retiring as a Yankee), or retire.

"Is Bernie an asset or a liability at this stage in his career?" Well, let's take a look at the numbers.

Bernie's last great season was in 2002 when he hit to the tune of .333/.415/.493. You might even say it was his last good season. Yankee fans know all too well that Williams slumped in 2003-2005, yet he was far from horrendous - at least at the plate - in '03 and '04 when he slugged 37 HR and drew 156 BB while putting up an OPS+ of 110. He had a poor year in '05 but bounced back last season and hit .281/.332/.436. Not too bad, especially when compared to several other players on the team, including someone who could earn a spot on this year's roster.

             AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
Crosby      .207  .258  .299  .557    
Phillips    .240  .281  .394  .675
Wilson      .212  .248  .365  .613

Bernie crushed lefthanded pitchers (.323/.387/.549). Are you going to tell me that there's no room on the team for a player who put up a .936 OPS vs. LHP? Last year was not a fluke either. He has always pounded lefties. Let's take a look at his career spits.

             AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
vs. LHP     .308  .397  .503  .900
vs. RHP     .292  .373  .465  .838

In limited playing time, Phillips has had reverse splits.

             AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
vs. LHP     .195  .233  .244  .477 
vs. RHP     .262  .305  .470  .775 

Josh Phelps, who is also competing for one of the 25 jobs this spring, didn't even play in the majors last year but has hit lefties well when given the opportunity.

             AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
vs. LHP     .292  .357  .500  .857 
vs. RHP     .257  .325  .460  .785 

The problem with Phelps is that he strikes out over 25% of the time and is a liability on the bases and in the field. Yes, he is younger than Williams, but it's not like Bernie faded down the stretch either.

             AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
1st Half    .282  .323  .416  .739 
2nd Half    .278  .347  .468  .815 

It looks to me like Williams still has some fuel left in his tank. Just in the last five years, the Yankees have given more than 100 AB in a season to such veterans as Ron Coomer, Karim Garica, Ruben Sierra, Shane Spencer, John Vander Wal, Craig Wilson, and Todd Zeile. I would submit that a 38-year-old Williams is better than each and every one of these players - all of whom were nothing more than corner OF/1B/DH/PH types. Not a one was on the team for his glove.

OK, I realize yesterday was yesterday but is the makeup of this year's club all that different? If you want to keep Doug Mientkiewicz for his glove and lefthanded bat, fine. But let's not kid ourselves here. Minky will turn 33 in June and has never been much of a hitter. He doesn't hit RHP any better than than LHP so it's not like he is going to make sense as a platoon partner with Phillips or Phelps. I never cared for Jason Giambi as a first baseman, but isn't it possible that the Yankees could be better off running him out there vs. southpaws while inserting Williams in the lineup as the DH? And why couldn't Bernie have learned to play 1B if the Yanks were petrified at the thought of seeing Giambi with a glove in his left hand?

As Rob Neyer so keenly noted in a recent column (Insider subscription required), Bernie Williams has been treated well financially by the Yankees over the years. How well? $103 million well. However, as far as I can tell, this matter has little or nothing to do with money. But, if this is the end, you would think that both sides could have shown each other a bit more respect after a successful partnership that has lasted nearly 22 years.

Rich Lederer, a native of Long Beach, California, is a longtime friend of Bronx Banter. Rich and I collaborated on a profile of Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter three years ago, almost to the day. His site, The Baseball Analysts, is essential reading for baseball fans.

Comments
2007-02-26 06:58:21
1.   Jim Dean
Thanks Rich. I don't think any one here would disagree with you that's there's a place for Bernie on this team, except you left out three important details:

1) The three 1B's

- If the Yanks were to carry only Minky and Giambi, and forget about Phelps/Phillips, then there's a place on the team for another legit RH bat. And Bernie fits that need. However:

2) Bernie's not a PH

- Bernie isn't and has never been a PH and I don't think we can assume that he'll learn in the limited number of AB's he'd get in that role this year.

Career: 50 PA .205 .360 .282 .642
2006: 20 PA .125 .300 .125 .425

So Bernie has never been a PH and there's reason to suggest he's not suited to that role.ANd if he doesn't have have that skill already, how many at-bats would he get to improve it? Is there a chance for him to pinch in more than 30 games?

3) Torre logic

This in the most damning reason IMHO to not have Bernie on the team. All defensive metrics suggest he's not an OF anymore (as least Sierra could prevent a runner like Papi from advancing to second on a ground ball to RF).

At best, Bernie is a right-handed DH. I would agree there's still room for that role on this team especially with the all-lefty OF and Giambi. But of the few legit left-handed starters, how many at-bats is that in the year for a right-handed DH? 50? 75?

The greater problem though is that if Bernie is on the team, Joe feels the need to get him more at-bats in the OF, sitting Melky instead of playing him and DH'ing one of the OF's, or sitting Giambi so Bernie can DH against the southpaws.

The Torre factor is I think the prime reason to not find a place for Bernie. It's not that Bernie couldn't be helpful in limited action. It's that anything more than that and he's probably hurtful to the rest of the team.

2007-02-26 07:15:03
2.   Jim Dean
I should probably add one more thing:

4) Bernie doesn't seem to be a DH.

Career: 530 PA .270 .351 .416 .767
2006: 116 PA .267 .336 .317 .653

The problem in there is that's both LH and RH (I don't know where to find the double splits). And that fits with #3 above. Even in 2006 when Bernie was showing the extreme splits, Torre still DH'ed him against RH pitching.

If there was any reason for Bernie to get to camp and prove something, to me it was to show that he could be productive against both LHP and RHP, but only as a right-handed hitter. Indeed, if he showed he could hit RHP as well from the rightside then he could have a bit more value. But it still might not be as a DH.

And with no discernable arm or legs, I'm afraid he makes a poor choice as for a roster spot.

Thanks for the memories Bernie.

2007-02-26 07:22:11
3.   nemecizer
Gotta agree with the Deaner on this one, Bernie is finished and there is just no room for him on the team.

I wish the parting had been sweeter. I does leave a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, both for the Yankees and for Bernie. But I suspect I'd be much angrier at Bernie striking out in the bottom of the 9th with two men on in a one run game.

Sorry to see you go Bernie, but it was time. I hope you are not too angry to come back to the Stadium for Bernie Williams day if/when that happens.

2007-02-26 07:34:49
4.   rmd0311
Bernie is a Yankee GREAT. His number should be retired RIGHT NOW, he should retire along with it. As much as I love Bernie I have to agree with Dean.

Bernie had his farewell tour last year. Bow down gracefully and take an exit. Seeing him wearing another uniform would BREAK my heart and I truly hope he does NOT go that route.

2007-02-26 07:56:40
5.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I'd love to see Bernie on the team, but where can he play? SS/2B/3B/C are all set, not that he can play there, but he can't PH for any of them anyway. The OF is set with the 4-man rotation; DH is set with Giambi and the 4th OF. The only position with some latitude is 1B. After the Sheff experiment, I'm not interested in making another aging OF our regular 1B, or even part of a platoon. I'd love to see the man as a coach on the major-league level, or, if he'd accept it, I'd love to have him play down with Tabata as a personal instructor of sorts.

More than that, though, I want to see him go out with dignity. It seems that both he and the Yankees are not going to let that happen.

2007-02-26 08:06:09
6.   Count Zero
I agree with Jim D wholeheartedly on this one -- couldn't have said it better myself. Sorry, Rich but your analysis of the situation is incomplete for all of the reasons noted above.
2007-02-26 08:13:24
7.   NetShrine
Can Bernie hit LHP? Sure. Is there a need to have someone on the team, as a sub, who would face LHP? I'm not sure that I can say yes:

http://tinyurl.com/25dsea

2007-02-26 08:27:09
8.   yankz
I love Bernie, but there are better people to be giving Tabata personal coaching. Unless it's intangible stuff, in which case he's great.
2007-02-26 08:44:11
9.   joejoejoe
Amen brother! It's not rational for the Yanks to give away all those at-bats to marginal scrubs and then claim there is no room at the inn for Bernie Williams. I think a lot of people here are behaving like petulant children but the stats don't lie - Bernie is a MLB hitter off the bench.

Bernie=Tim Salmon is a great comparison.

2007-02-26 09:07:36
10.   Jim Dean
9 You know, since I'm a "petualant child" and all:

How exactly does 1:

Career: 50 PA .205 .360 .282 .642
2006: 20 PA .125 .300 .125 .425

show that "Bernie is a MLB hitter off the bench"?

By contrast, here's Cairo (who I'm not a fan of):

Career: 166 PA .268 .329 .373 .702
2006 4 PA .500 .667 .500 1.167

So, if anything Cairo's a better MLB hitter off the bench. That's saying something.

Note to all: The stats do lie - but only when joecubed is citing them.

2007-02-26 09:08:24
11.   yankz
9 Jim Dean posted the numbers. Bernie is not an MLB hitter off the bench. He is a terrible pinch hitter. He is decent, against lefties, when he starts. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen on this team.
2007-02-26 09:15:40
12.   Jim Dean
11 And I'm not even sure if he's decent when he starts as a DH. If it's Torre using him, then probably not because he starts there against LHP and RHP pitching. Though if anyone knows where to find the double splits (LH DH and RH DH) then I, for one, would love to see them.
2007-02-26 09:23:43
13.   rbj
Love Bernie, but he's finished. Not well handled all around, but it is tough for many guys to hang up the spikes. I hope things are smoothed over in a year or so for Bernie Williams Day.
2007-02-26 09:45:25
14.   markp
I choose door number three. Carol Merrill please open the Torre (a) door.

How can someone can mentioned all of the PT he got in RF last year (with a far superior arm stuck in LF) and conclude that Bernie should be back?

2007-02-26 09:54:22
15.   Shaun P
1 Jim this remains something you and I see 100% exactly the same. I've been making many of those same arguments, but unfortunately, not everyone is buying them.

Rich, you brought some very interesting points to the table, but I think you miss that it isn't "Bernie instead of a 1B", its "Bernie instead of Melky". Like Jim says in 1, Joe Torre just won't be able to resist using Bernie as the 4th OF, a role for which Bernie is, I'm sure you'd agree, ill-suited.

2007-02-26 10:09:33
16.   Rich
The meeting you proposed did take place with Bernie's agent, Scott Boras. That's how it's done in 2007.
2007-02-26 10:12:14
17.   kdw
Did anyone else try clicking the link to the profile of Bernie and Jeter above and get an error message?
2007-02-26 11:18:10
18.   NetShrine
Did Rich put the whammy on Abreu today?

He went down, as per the AP.

2007-02-26 11:30:30
19.   JL25and3
16 It still should have been done with Bernie, even if Boras was also present.
2007-02-26 11:37:48
20.   OldYanksFan
Rich - you do make some good points, but the logic of 'look at the crap the Yanks have run out in the past' doesn't hold. Yes, we even have a little crap now too. But is that really a reason to add a VERY limited player?

Bernies a terrible fielder with a terrible arm. He's not especially good as a runner (even when he was younger/healthier). So, as a RH batter, he MIGHT post close to league average OPS (with no other redeeming qualities)?

2 years ago, there were people who wanted Bernie off the field. Most of us Banterers stuck up for Bernie. Last year, it was closer to 50/50. Still, many admitted we still wanted him on the team. But this year? Everyone here loves Bernie, but from my estimation (from reading Yankee blogs) is that 80% or more want Bernie to retire. And we ALL love the guy.

Here's the issue. He got an invite to Spring training, which is a chance to play. Due to injury, or Josh/Andy being a total bomb and being cut, or its decided that Myers is taking up space, for the 2 innings a week he pitches... Bernie might have made the team. There are a number of scenerios where Bernie MIGHT make the team. Who knows?

But Bernie's ego is insulted. I love the guy, but age and injury humbles players. I really can't believe he wants to play that badly. His behavior doesn't back that up.

By the by... does anyone know IF Bernie got any legitimate offers from other teams????

2007-02-26 11:39:15
21.   nemecizer
Pavano has a bone bruise on his foot, according to Pete Abraham. No word on if/how long he will be out.
2007-02-26 11:42:38
22.   nemecizer
21 Torre says in an interview that Pavano will pitch on Sunday. I guess that's good news.
2007-02-26 12:02:46
23.   Jeteupthemiddle
Over his career, Bernie has been good against lefties.

However, since Bernie hasn't been "good" since 2002, I'm not sure that is applicable.

I think his .936 OPS against lefties in 2006 could, somewhat be explained by a sample size folley.

In 2005, Bernie had 50 more ABs against lefties than he had in 2006, and he provided a .591 OPS against such pitchers.

Could he provide a .936 OPS against lefties? I suppose. Could he provide a .591 OPS against lefties? I believe it is just as likely.

2007-02-26 12:06:12
24.   claybeez
Some more not so good news worth watching,

"And Humberto Sanchez's pain in his right forearm reappeared last night, sending up a red flag to he and the organization. He also is having an MRI today."

That's from Newsday.

2007-02-26 12:22:54
25.   Rich
19 I wouldn't be surprised if the time, place, and manner of the meeting was Boras's call.
2007-02-26 12:44:42
26.   JL25and3
25 You mean that the Yankees have no way of communicating directly with Bernie? I have difficulty believing that. If they want to talk to Bernie, I don't think Boras would or could prevent them from having any contact.
2007-02-26 12:55:23
27.   Count Zero
26 Yep, they do. Torre called him repeatedly, Jorge called him repeatedly, etc., etc. Cashman calling him directly the way Torre (et. al.) did would be considered an attempt to circumvent the normal process via his agent. So the answer to your question is: Yes, they do and they used it.
2007-02-26 13:04:36
28.   Rich
27 Said it better than I could have.
2007-02-26 14:08:51
29.   dianagramr
Abreu strained oblique during BP .... out 2 weeks.

http://tinyurl.com/37mgtr

No word on whether Pavanomas was envious of Abreu.

2007-02-26 14:25:03
30.   YankeeInMichigan
22 Joe also said that Pavano would pitch July 3, 2005 in Detroit. We're still waiting.
2007-02-26 14:55:14
31.   tommyl
30 Haha, very funny. This does seem like a legit injury (though why the moron doesn't use a cage is beyond me). We'll see if he bounces back, but a guy who missed time for a bruised butt doesn't inspire confidence.
2007-02-26 16:04:41
32.   Knuckles
31 I was just coming here to post the same thing...I'd just remembered that Pavano was the only one I've read about who declined to use the L-screen, saying it messed up his mechanics.
Lo and behold, he's the only pitcher to take a liner off his leg...it's getting a little ridiculous.
2007-02-26 16:10:40
33.   rbj
I had asked about the screen over at Peter's blog -- while Carl might be the only one on the Yankees' team not to use it, they say some sinkerballers (IIRC) don't use it because they claim it messes up their mechanics. I can't believe they don't have a better screen out there; and mechanics worries should be way behind injury worries for Carl.
2007-02-26 16:26:37
34.   mikeplugh
I think we've been over this Bernie issue time and time again. There's only one thing that we need to understand about it and the rest is window dressing. Bernie is one of the worst fielders in the entire sport. He can't chase down balls, and when he picks up those balls that drop and roll for 20 minutes he lollipops them into the infield. David Ortiz took 2nd on him last season on a little bloop in front of him. Isn't that enough of a sign from heaven that it's your time?

If he can't play the field and he can only hit from one side of the plate, why do the Yankees need him? Respect? I think we all knew these things prior to the start of LAST season, hence Cashman's generous one year deal. That one year deal was a thank you, and was a kind of pat on the back saying, "Thanks for everything. Here's your farewell tour. Enjoy it." That's far more respect that many guys get. Bernie had to know that.

This is all on Bernie. Cashman has been very cold blooded recently, but Bernie and Boras have been playing games. In the end #51 will be in monument park and Bernie will get his day, but he may take some time to stop steaming, wherever he is, and get his head together.

It's regrettable that it's come to this, but the Yankees don't owe Bernie anything more than the proper retirement of his number and a plaque in Monument Park.

2007-02-26 17:00:22
35.   Chyll Will
34 Which is exactly what we've been saying for the past six months and I'm not going to add a thing to it except to say that JD told the truth. Rich makes a compelling argument for sentiment, but unless the sky falls on the outfielders in March, Bernie's not coming back. In fact, I venture to say there'd be more hard feelings in the clubhouse and the stands if he did come back and began "subtly" campaigning to repeat his 2006 PAs. Take it from Alex, you don't want to get booed out of the place by this crowd, especially when you're trying your hardest. The recent stadium crowds have the potential to suck the life out of the tri-state already.

Actually, I do have to add that whether or not Cashman was responsible for the hard feelings that have surfaced in this, he seems to be doing his own version of Bernie, PR-wise. Not good...

2007-02-26 17:19:40
36.   nemecizer
Pete Abraham now reporting that Cashman has basically said, don't even think we're thinking about Bernie because of Abreu.

I guess it really is over. Sad it had to end this way.

2007-02-26 17:37:41
37.   wsporter
35 ... for at least the last six months.

It really is time to let this one go I think.

2007-02-27 17:10:11
38.   nyyfaninlaaland
Petulant is right.

So the appropriate analysis here is 50 PH PA's over a 16 year career, or 20 last season. That defines Bernie Williams huh?

Let me ask you this? Given his admittedly weak arm and the presence of a faster, younger, stronger armed alternative (Melky) filling in at the same time, why did Mr Torre, paid $7 mil to make these decisions on a daily basis in the interest of putting the best club on the field, and with the soonest position opening available to said young prospect being right field so having him play there also made good strategic / development sense, choose to go the opposite way? He's paid a fortune to make this decision, but you typists all know better? I think not. And you think he'll let his emotions get the better of him rather than the good of the team? While I don't think Torre is the greatest of managers, I don't think he's the idiot you're making him out to be. Make sure you don't let your ever so important opinions turn into fact.

Carefully chosen statistics can be used in many ways. Bernie's role has never been that of PH. He only stopped being the starting CF last season. That's not likely to be his role now - there's only 1 guy it makes any sense to PH for - Mientky - and that's likely to occur about 15 times a year. We play in the AL remember! And pinching for him means putting an inferior defender on the field late in a close game. Is that a good strategy?

You're all tap dancing on Bernie and loving Melky - I do too - but I don't think Melky should start ahead of any of the 3 OF's. These guys aren't old, and each has averaged near to well over 150 games played a season. Hopefully they'll do the same this year, leaving about 25-30 games to play for a 4th OF. These 3 All-Stars are each supposed to sit once a week so a .280 hitting second year player with less power and lower OBP can get AB's? That somehow makes the team better? And they aren't so poor defensively that a replacement is required. So it's that plus the occasional DH day. I don't really see that as the right job for a developing 22 year old prospect - virtually every org in baseball would stash the kid in AAA to get more AB's and PT at the position they were likely to have a shot at but weren't quite ready for yet, and have a veteran 4th OF who could fill in at all the spots, maybe hit .270 with a little power, gee a switch hitter would be nice... Sure if someone gets hurt, goes DL, Melky steps right in. And pretty clearly Bernie is a step up from Phillips or Phelps as a bench bat (notwithstanding that statistically imposing & largely irrelevant PH sample) if that's the alternative.

The right solution would have been a major league deal so Bernie isn't put in the position he's in. Then if he's not cutting it or the 1B platoon just makes more sense, you tell him so he can gracefully retire or ingraciously try to hook up elsewhere, and we pay him termination pay rather than the full contract. Hell, call it a tip for 16 years of exemplary service. Are we too cheap to toss $300k to a Yankee icon as a severance package? Bernie's not going to go to Scranton and wait for an opening - that's the insult implied in a minor league deal.

2008-06-30 20:49:05
39.   TimBrow
Rich, this is one of the finest analogies of Bernie's situation. I've done research on this, as have you. I live in Orlando via NY/NJ. I have been to 1 of each WS games since the last one of '96. Big deal. My son, who is a Marine was on leave and we went to a Boston game in April. This was his goodbye to YS. Conversation regarding the Monument, etc. "When are they going to retire Bernie's #51?" 16 year Yankee with solid numbers and great playoff/WS numbers. I investigate. The Cashman conversation you describe would have been out of Management 101. We know it didn't happen. I think George probably had something to say also. My understanding is Bernie, who made @$12.5m in '05 was openly criticized by Cashman for his music focus. '06, Bernie makes $1.5m and as you discussed, due to injuries, he played @130 games and Cashman was pissed at Torre for the playing time. Somewhere along the line there was a falling out with the Yankee's (Cashman/Steinbrenner). You noted his failing seasons. So did Mattingly, and we know Don's back etc. Don was a favorite of all (may be the key point here). His number was retired, as it should be and only one not in HOF. No way am I taking anything away from Don. Can't, Marines favorite player. Not my point. Here is my point. Before YS is torn down, I, like many believe a Bernie Williams day is in order. BW day in the other park will not cut it. How does that happen? I believe there is an impasse between the two sides. I also believe if this is part of a rift including George, I don't think Hank will override. Conjecture. What we are doing is this. A fine gentlemen developed a website in tribute to Bernie. I contacted him, gave my thoughts about moving this forward until my research determined it may be easier to get gas back to a buck. I was even working with the sports director of PR's leading paper. Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. The web site is berniewilliams.net - Included are addresses for Cashman and Hank. Knowing how arduous it is for some to actually write, stuff, lick and stamp an envelop, I don't know what legs it has, but you have to start somewhere. I have offered to write several versions to ease the pain. Thanks. If you have any ideas let me know. Reggie had his front office issues and as we know, his day came after he made the HOF in '93. He wasn't a 16 year man either. Maybe five or six?

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