Bernie to manage in All-Star Futures Game
Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams will be back in baseball action during All-Star Game Week when he will serve as manager of the World Team against Hall of Famer George Brett, who will manage the U.S. Team, in the Futures Game July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, two days before the All-Star Game.
“I am very excited to be managing the World Team in the Futures Game,” Williams said. “This game has grown in stature so much through the years, and it is remarkable how many of the young men who have played and starred in this game have become stars in the game today. That will be the case with hopefully many of the players I will have the honor of managing in Kansas City.”
Williams was a member of four World Series-winning teams in his 16-season career with the Yankees. The Puerto Rico native was a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and has more RBI (80) than any player in postseason history.
The Royals have not been the host club for an All-Star Game since 1973, which was the same year that Brett made his major league debut. The former third baseman won three batting titles in three separate decades and ranks 16th on the all-time hits list (3,154). Brett, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, has spent 19 seasons as KC’s vice president of baseball operations.
Brett, a 13-time All-Star, also managed the Futures Game in 2005, and said last month that he’s looking forward to being a part of the All-Star Game again.
“I’m excited to share the city and stadium I love with today’s All-Stars and baseball fans around the world,” said Brett, who played in 13 All-Star Games. “It’s an honor to be a part once again of the Midsummer Classic and baseball’s special celebration.”
The switch-hitting Williams batted .297 with 287 home runs. He won won the American League batting title with a .339 mark in 1998. Williams has not managed at any level. He said that he played for two of the best in Joe Torre and Buck Showalter. Torre even let Williams manage one game down the stretch as part of a tradition in which he allowed players to sit in his seat.
“I got to help make out the lineup and go to the mound and make the pitching changes, and make some decisions like to hit and run or lay down a bunt,” Bernie said. “It was a lot of fun, but I also saw how hard it was to manage, where you have to be following every pitch, but also thinking ahead a couple of innings and worrying about every player on the other bench. So, I have a great appreciation of what it takes to manage every single day.”
Brett and Williams will have plenty of help from experienced coaches. Brett will be assisted by minor-league Duane Espy, Tony Franklin, Mike Jirschele and Jim Pankovits. The pitching coach for the U.S. team will be Tom Filer, who works in that capacity for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Williams will have minor-league managers Arnie Beyeler, Steve Buechele, Darren Bush and Turner Ward on his staff, along with Double A Akron hitting coach Rouglas Odor and Triple A Columbus pitching coach Ruben Niebla.
Williams has said that he may consider managing at some point in the future, but for now he is busy pursuing his musical passions as both a touring and recording guitarist. The Futures Game, a one-day celebration of the game’s coming generation, provided an opportunity to get back into the game.
“Being from Puerto Rico, I have a special appreciation how the game of baseball has grown to truly be a global game,” he said. “I know I will have the honor of managing players from many different countries. What really made me want to do this was after being invited, I was told that the players who will be playing in this game grew up following players like me in my era. While it makes me feel old, it also brought a smile to my face. This is a great showcase of the stars of tomorrow, and I am just thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to spending a couple of days with these kids.”