Results tagged ‘ Yankee Stadium ’
In terms of profile and temperament, Bernie Williams and New York would not seem a comfortable fit. The city that never sleeps was the incubator that gave the culture such over-the-top performers from Cagney to Streisand to DeNiro, not to mention such flamboyant out-of-town athletes who conquered the Big Apple’s hard core, from Dempsey to Mantle to Namath.
But Bernie Williams? Bob Sheppard, the late majestic voice of Yankee Stadium, noted that even the syllables of Williams’ name failed to conjure up images of greatness. Except for his Puerto Rican heritage, which he shared with many Bronx residents, Williams did not appear to have much in common with the population of the borough that the Yankees call home which traditionally has revered players who thrive on being the center of attention.
Towards the end of the 2005 season when his tenure with the Yankees was drawing to a close, fans at the Stadium finally stood up and took notice at Williams on a regular basis with standing ovations before and after each of his plate appearances. Bernie Williams was at center stage at last. The outpouring of affection was a belated tribute by Yankees fans for all Williams meant to the franchise in one of the most significant periods of its glorious history.
And the penultimate experience occurs Sunday night when a packed Stadium will shower Williams with an abundance of affection as the Yankees will honor him with a plaque in Monument Park and officially retire his uniform No. 51. No player has worn that number since Williams’ last season 10 years ago, even the two who had worn it with distinction in Seattle, Randy Johnson and Ichiro Suzuki. After coming to the Yankees in trades from the Mariners, Johnson wore No. 41 and Suzuki No. 31.
While other teammates drew greater cheers and headlines over the years, Williams was the calming center of a team that went from spit to shinola in the 1990’s to complete a resounding history of baseball in the Bronx. The quiet, contemplative, switch-hitting center fielder batted cleanup in lineups that produced four World Series championships, including three in a row, over the last five years of the 20th century and the first year of the 21st.
Of all the players who took part in the Yankees’ extraordinary run during that period, Williams was the only one who was there when it all began, when the club started to make strides toward decency in 1992 and improved to such an extent that by the middle of the decade was on the verge of yet another dynastic era.
Yes, that Bernie Williams, whose way with a guitar rivaled that of his handling of bat and glove. Williams’ love of the guitar was so strong that he was just as much in awe of meeting Les Paul and Paul McCartney as he was shaking hands with Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. Yet it is in the latter’s company that Williams will always hold a special place in Yankees lore.
It is a past as eventful as any in franchise history. Williams’ rankings on the Yankees’ career lists include third in doubles (449), singles (1,545) and intentional walks (97); fourth in at-bats (7,869); fifth in plate appearances (9,053), hits (2,336), bases on balls (1,069), times on base (3,444) and sacrifice flies( 64); sixth in games (2,076), total bases (3,756), extra-base hits (791) and runs (1,366) and seventh in home runs (287) and runs batted in (1,257). He is one of only 10 players who played 16 or more seasons only with the Yankees. The others are Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Frankie Crosetti, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.
Not bad for an unassuming man who was often the cruel butt of jokes by veteran teammates when he came into the majors in 1991. “Bambi” was the nickname Mel Hall, Steve Sax, Jesse Barfield and others hung on Williams, a suggestion that his non-confrontational demeanor and love for classical guitar music somehow made him unfit for the rigors of professional sports.
As it turned out, Williams not only turned the other cheek but also left the gigglers in the dust. He carved out for himself a career that is superior to all his old tormentors and one that just might make him a serious candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame some day.
Williams batted .297 over those 16 seasons, with a .381 on-base average and .477 slugging percentage. He won a batting title, four Gold Gloves for fielding, a Silver Slugger for hitting and was named to five All-Star teams.
Even more impressive are Williams’ post-season numbers. He ranks second in most major offensive categories – games (121), at-bats (465), runs (83), hits (128), total bases (223), singles (77) and total bases (202). In each case, Williams is second to long-time teammate Derek Jeter. Williams is also the runner-up in post-season home runs (22) to Manny Ramirez and walks (77) to Chipper Jones.
Williams is the only player in post-season history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in one game, and he did it twice, in the 1995 American League Division Series against the Mariners and in the 1996 AL Division Series against the Rangers. Also in ‘96, he was the Most Valuable Player of the AL Championship Series victory over the Orioles.
The World Series victory over the Braves that followed remained a key moment in Williams’ career. Years later, he noted, “The World Series gives you confidence. Whenever a team goes through adversity, every player who has been to the World Series knows that this is the beauty of the game, how great it is. We don’t just play for the money or the records. There’s a reason to be the best. We realized it [in ‘96], not just because we won it, but the way we won it. We were down by two games, and we went down to Atlanta and swept the Braves. That taught us a lot about the game, what it means.”
Williams was distraught in the 1997 post-season when he was 2-for-17 in the ALDS loss to the Indians, a setback that seemed to galvanize the Yankees as they came back to win three straight World Series. They were memorable seasons for Williams, who won his batting title in 1998 with a .339 average to go with 26 home runs and 97 RBI and had an even better year in ‘99, batting .342 with 25 home runs and 115 RBI. His best overall season was in 2000, batting .307 with 30 home runs and 121 RBI.
Not even Yankees scout Fred Ferreira, with the recommendation of Roberto Rivera, who signed Williams to a contract Sept. 13, 1985, his 17th birthday, could have foreseen such a career, particularly in the heady atmosphere of center field at the Stadium that had been patrolled by Earle Combs, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Murcer and Mickey Rivers.
Bernabe Figueroa Williams was born in San Juan in 1968 and grew up in Vega Alta, P.R., where he played high school ball with future two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez. Williams’ parents also instilled in him a love for music, which proved a sustaining force at times when his baseball career became over-challenging.
One of the oddities of Williams’ time with the Yankees was that he was frequently the only player in the batting order who did not have a special song played for him when he came to bat, a practice that became prominent at ballparks in the ‘90s. Williams’ interest in music was so intense that he considered listening to a “theme song” before a plate appearance a distraction.
During Williams’ rise through the minors, the Yankees weren’t quite sure how to use him. Despite being fleet afoot, Williams lacked the larcenous behavior to be an effective base stealer, which made him less than an attractive leadoff hitter despite an excellent on-base percentage. His legs helped him run down any fly ball, but his throwing arm was never particularly strong or accurate
But in the early ‘90s, the Yankees were in no position to be over picky about prospects. When injuries cut into the playing time of outfielders Roberto Kelly and Danny Tartabull, Williams was summoned to the majors and the slow apprenticeship began. Brought along slowly by managers Stump Merrill and Buck Showalter, Williams came into his own in 1993 and took control of center field at Yankee Stadium, the most sacred patch of ground in the majors, for the next 10 years.
His breakthrough year was 1995 when Williams batted .307 with 18 home runs and 82 RBI and followed that by hitting .429 with two home runs and five RBI in 21 at-bats in the grueling, five-game ALDS loss to the Mariners, an exciting series that helped “sell” the new concept of an expanded round of playoffs.
Joe Torre arrived the next season, and while some of Williams’ eccentricities had the new manager shaking his head on occasion was won over by his almost childlike enthusiasm.
“I don’t think there is anything about Bernie that could surprise me – take that as a plus or a minus,” Torre told MLB.com last year. “That’s just his personality, just him, basically. He’s very different in that he is not your typical baseball player. That’s probably why he was a little more sensitive than other players.”
But with that sensitivity also came with Williams a sense of loyalty. Despite being wooed by the Red Sox and the Diamondbacks when he was eligible for free agency after the 1998 season, Williams contacted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and the sides worked out a seven-year contract for $87 million that kept Bernie in pinstripes.
Williams had been hopeful he could have played for the Yankees in 2007, but there was no longer a role for him. So the soft-spoken center fielder, now 46, enjoys a satisfying retirement and continues to write music. His 2003 CD, “The Journey Within,” drew praise from the likes of McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon.
“Don’t let your job define who you are,” Williams once said. “Your relationships will define who you are. No matter what you do in life, you are going to be in a position to make an impact on somebody’s life. In my experience with the Yankees, these are a few of the thing that I have learned. You’ve got to have a plan of action, you have to stay focused on the things you can control, and don’t get discouraged or distracted by the things you cannot control.”
The Yankees may want to petition commissioner Rob Manfred to see if they can play games against Texas without a third inning.
For the second straight game, the Rangers teed off against Yankees pitching in the third inning Saturday as Texas sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs. Friday night, the Rangers had 10 batters come up in the third inning and score seven runs. That made it 17 runs in the third inning over two days.
Despite being down 7-0 Friday night, the Yankees made it a game and lost by a 10-9 count with the potential tying run on first base in the ninth. No such comeback was in the making Saturday as Texas held fast for a 15-4 victory.
The runs against the Yanks were the most in a game since April 19 last year at St. Petersburg, Fla., in a 16-1 loss and their most in a home game since Sept. 22, 2011 against the Rays in a 15-8 loss.
What made Saturday’s game strange was that the Yankees had their specialist pitcher in charge of ending losing streaks of four games or more on the mound. The Elias Sport Bureau reported that CC Sabathia had made four previous starts with the Yankees on a losing streak of at least four games (one in 2009, two in 2013 and one this year). His record in those starts: 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. Sabathia had pitched at least seven innings in each of those four starts (May 8, 2009 at Baltimore, May 31, 2013 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, June 16, 2013 at Anaheim and May 16 this year at Kansas City) and combined for four walks and 29 strikeouts.
Saturday was a whole different story, however. CC got off to a strong start with three strikeouts in the first five batters, but he never made it through the third inning, which got off to a ominous start when he walked the 9-hole hitter, .140-batting Jake Smolinski. The next four batters reached on singles with an error in right field Carlos Beltran contributing to the rally. When a two-run single by Elvis Andrus made the score 5-0, Sabathia was taken out of the game.
Esmil Rogers could not put a tourniquet on the inning. He hit the first batter he faced with a pitch and allowed an inherited runner to score on an opposite-field double by Carlos Corporan. A sacrifice fly by Smolinski and a two-run home run by Shinn-Soo Choo put Texas up by 10-0.
It marked their most runs allowed in a single inning since April 18, 2009 at home against the Indians when Cleveland scored 14 runs in the second inning of a 22-4 Yankees loss. It was the first time the Yankees allowed seven runs in one inning in back-to-back games (or in the same game) since June 19 (seven runs in the fourth inning) and 20 (eight runs in the sixth), 2002 at Denver and the first time at home since June 11 (nine runs in the fifth) and 12 (nine runs in the second), 1907 against the Tigers when the team was still known as the Highlanders and played at old Hilltop Park in Manhattan.
Rogers was charged with three runs in the sixth before giving way to Brandon Pindar, who was victimized in the seventh on a two-run home run by Prince Fielder, who hit two home runs Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were getting nowhere offensively against Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who improved his record to 4-0. The Yankees did not have a hit until the fourth inning when Alex Rodriguez led off with an infield single and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Adam Rosales. A-Rod never got past that base.
Martinez gave up two runs on solo homers by Beltran and Didi Gregorius. Beltran’s third homer of the year extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Gregorius homered for the second straight game. He had a three-run shot Friday night. So after going 205 at-bats without a homer, Gregorius homered twice in four at-bats.
Slade Heathcott, the outfielder called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right knee) is on the disabled list, made his major-league debut Friday night and got his first two hits and first run as a major leaguer. Saturday he got his first big-league RBI with a run-scoring groundout followed an RBI triple by John Ryan Murphy.
The losing ways the Yankees experienced on the recent trip when they lost seven of nine games has followed them home. They have lost five straight games, their longest losing streak of the season, and nine of their past 10 games. Their overall record is barely over .500 at 22-21.
Among the more disturbing aspects of the game was another dismal showing by Sabathia at Yankee Stadium. He has not won in the Bronx since Sept. 20, 2013. Saturday was his sixth straight losing decision at the Stadium with a 9.42 ERA in those starts.
“When you don’t pitch well, you get booed,” he said.
It is never a good sign for a club when its mosst effective pitcher is its backup first baseman. Garrett Jones made his first major-league pitching appearance in the ninth inning and got the final two outs. He also walked one batter and hit one, yet his career ERA is 0.00.
The Yankees return home Friday night for the first of six games at Yankee Stadium. The stretch will feature a three-game series against the Rangers Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday night and a three-game set against the Royals Monday afternoon, Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.
As part of a pregame ceremony prior to Sunday’s 8:05 p.m. game against the Rangers, the Yankees will honor Bernie Williams by unveiling a Monument Park plaque recognizing his career. Additionally, Williams’ uniform No. 51 will be retired by the organization. Former teammates, coaches and other guests will take part in the festivities with ceremonies scheduled to begin at approximately 7:15 p.m.
Williams played his entire 16-year major-league career with the Yankees (1991-2006). The switch hitter batted .297 in 2,076 games and 7,869 at-bats. A four-time World Series champion (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000), Williams is the Yankees’ all-time postseason leader in home runs (22) and RBI (80), ranks second in playoff runs scored (83), hits (128) and doubles (29) and is third in games played (121).
Over the course of the homestand, ceremonial first pitches will be held Friday (acclaimed authors Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke), Saturday (Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus), and Wednesday (St. John’s University head basketball coach Chris Mullin).
Tuesday, Richard Albero will conclude his 1,150-mile journey from Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., to the plate at Yankee Stadium. Albero began his journey March 2 to honor his nephew who passed away in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. After reaching the plate, Albero will be honored in an on-field ceremony.
Ticket specials will run Saturday (Youth Game), Monday (Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game), Tuesday night (Military Personnel Game) and Wednesday (MasterCard Half-Price, Military Personnel, Senior Citizen and Student Game).
For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.
The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:
Friday, May 22 – Yankees vs. Rangers, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Reusable Tote Bag Night, presented by MLB Network to all in attendance.
Saturday, May 23 – Yankees vs. Rangers, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Drawstring Backpack Day, presented by Kumon, to the first 18,000 in attendance, 14 and younger.
Sunday, May 24 – Yankees vs. Rangers, 8:05 p.m.
Bernie Williams Collector Card Night, presented by Yankees-Steiner Collectibles, to all in attendance.
Monday, May 25 – Yankees vs. Royals, 1:05 p.m.
Sunscreen Day, presented by Blue Lizard, to all in attendance.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at (877) 469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at (800) 943-4327 and at all ticket offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call (212) YANKEES [926-5337] or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.
The Voice television show filmed its “Coming Home” segment of finalist India Carey Thursday, May 7, at Yankee Stadium. It will air at 8 p.m. Monday on NBC.
Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for April 27-May 3, including the week’s ranking and viewership:
1. NCIS, CBS, 14.9 million.
2. NCIS: New Orleans, CBS, 14.6 million.
3. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 13.9 million.
4. Dancing with the Stars, ABC, 13.2 million.
5. Blue Bloods, CBS, 11.3 million.
6. The Voice (Monday), NBC, 10.5 million.
Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer, who directed the Buckeyes to a 42-20 victory over Oregon in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. Yankees-Orioles game at Yankee Stadium.
In three seasons as head coach at Ohio State, Meyer has a 38-3 record. He is the only head coach in college football history to have won a national championship as part of two different conferences – the Big Ten and the SEC. Along with Nick Saban, Meyer is also only one of two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) head coaches to have won national titles at two different schools (also in 2006 and ‘08 while at Florida).
As part of the celebration, a special ticket offer with savings of up to 50 percent on select seats for Friday’s game is now available for all Ohio State alumni, fans and supporters. For complete details on the offer, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/osu15. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.
In a pregame ceremony prior to Friday’s game, Meyer will be presented with an autographed base signed by all of the members of the current Yankees active roster. Making the presentation to Meyer will be Yankees general partner/vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.
The Yankees and New Era Pinstripe Bowl began their eight-year affiliation with the Big Ten in 2014, between the two legendary brands features the Big Ten’s commitment to play in the annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl through 2021.
Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has had increased attendance in each of its first five years of existence. In 2014, a record sellout crowd of 49,012 watched Penn State defeat Boston College and establish the bowl’s highest all-time attendance figure.
The 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 26, at a to-be-determined kickoff time. The game will mark the second consecutive year that the bowl will feature a team from the Big Ten and the ACC. The Big Ten’s partnership with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl is the conference’s first ever bowl game tie-in on the East Coast.
Tickets for the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be made available in the near future. For up-to-the-moment information regarding the game, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.pinstripebowl.com, the official Web site of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and follow the bowl game’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts – @PinstripeBowl.
Penn State head football coach James Franklin, who helped lead the Nittany Lions to a 31-30 overtime victory over the Boston College Eagles in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. Yankees-Rays game at Yankee Stadium.
In his first year as head coach at Penn State in 2014, Franklin led the school to their 45thbowl appearance all-time. The Nittany Lions’ victory in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl was their 28th postseason victory, most among all Big Ten institutions and tied for third-most nationally.
“It’s such an awesome opportunity to throw out the first pitch and take in a Yankees game at such an iconic stadium,” Franklin said. “The Yankees’ staff was great to work with and hosted a first-class event in the Pinstripe Bowl. The experience our student-athletes, coaches and staff had at Yankee Stadium in December was second to none. I am looking forward to taking the mound, maybe I will try to get some pitching advice from Masahiro Tanaka or Michael Pineda.”
As part of the celebration, a special ticket offer with savings of up to 50% on select seats for Tuesday’s game is now available for all Penn State alumni, fans and supporters. For complete details on the offer, fans should visit www.yankees.com/psu15.
In addition, Franklin will also be presented with a custom commissioned piece of art by acclaimed artist Lynn Mara that depicts Sam Ficken’s game-winning kick in the final moments of Penn State’s victory in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. A native of Long Island native, Mara is known for her unique works that aim to form a connection between natural environments and the spiritual world.
Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has seen increased attendance in each of its first five years of existence. In 2014, a record sellout crowd of 49,012 watched Penn State defeat Boston College and establish the bowl’s highest all-time attendance figure.
The 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 26.The game will mark the second consecutive year that the bowl will feature a team from the Big Ten and ACC. The Big Ten’s partnership with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl is the conference’s first ever bowl game tie-in on the East Coast.
Tickets for the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be made available in the near future. For up-to-the-moment information regarding the game, fans are encouraged to visit www.pinstripe bowl.com, the official website of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and follow the bowl game’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts – @PinstripeBowl.
The Yankees will return home Friday night for the first of six games at Yankee Stadium. The stretch will feature a three-game series against the Mets (Friday-Sunday, April 24-26) and a three-game set against the Rays (Monday-Wednesday, April 27-29).
As part of his retirement celebration, Bernie Williams will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game vs. the Mets. Additionally, the Hard Rock Cafe will debut a souvenir pin that honors Williams in a pregame ceremony. Fifteen percent of pin proceeds will go to Hillside Food Outreach (www.hillsidefoodoutreach.org).
Prior to Sunday’s 8:05 p.m. game vs. the Mets, Matthew Morrison will sing the national anthem. The Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor is currently starring in the Harvey Weinstein musical Finding Neverland and recently wrapped up the final season of Fox’s musical comedy Glee where he starred as Will Schuester.
Ticket specials will run Saturday, April 25 (Youth Game), Monday, April 27 (MasterCard $5 and Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, April 28 (MasterCard $5, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game) and Wednesday, April 29 (MasterCard Half-Price, Military Personnel, Senior Citizen and Student Game).
For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.
The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:
Saturday, April 25 – Yankees vs. Mets, 4:05 p.m.
Brett Gardner Replica Bat Day, presented by Bank of America, to first 10,000 Guests, 14 and younger.
Tuesday, April 28 – Yankees vs. Rays, 7:05 p.m.
Masahiro Tanaka Bobblehead Night, presented by AT&T, to first 18,000 Guests.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at (877) 469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at (800) 943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call (212) YANKEES [926-5337] or email email@example.com.
For information on parking and public transportation options to Yankee Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.
As part of Major League Baseball’s initiative to standardize security procedures at all 30 parks, visitors are required to be screened via metal detectors before entering the Stadium. The increased security measures are the result of MLB’s continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security and are designed to elevate and standardize security practices across the game. The added security measures are in addition to bag checks that are conducted at all MLB ballparks.
As a result, the Yankees strongly encourage all visitors to budget extra time for arrival and entry to the Stadium for all home games throughout the 2015 season and future seasons.
Although he has not played a game in the major leagues since the end of the 2006 season and has already fallen off the Hall of Fame ballot, Bernie Williams has never officially announced his retirement as a player.
That will change at 5:45 p.m. Friday in the press conference room at Yankee Stadium before the first game of this season’s Subway Series when Williams will formally sign his retirement papers in a ceremony to be overseen by general manager Brian Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman.
During Friday’s press conference, the Yankees will unveil a logo related to his uniform number (51) retirement and Monument Park plaque dedication, which will take place on Sunday, May 24, prior to the Yankees’ 8:05 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers.
Additionally Friday — in an on-field ceremony at approximately 6:45 p.m. — the Hard Rock Cafe will debut a souvenir pin that honors Williams. Fifteen percent of net sales from the pins will go to Hillside Food Outreach (www.hillsidefoodoutreach.org).
Bernie will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Mets.
Williams, 46, played his entire 16-year major-league career with the Yankees (1991-2006). The switch hitter batted .297 over 2,076 games. In franchise history, the former center fielder ranks third in doubles (449), fifth in hits (2,336), sixth in games played and runs scored (1,366) and seventh in home runs (287) and RBI (1,257). The five-time American League All-Star (1997-2001), four-time Gold Glove winner (1997-2000) and Silver Slugger Award recipient (2002) won the American League batting title in 1998 with a .339 average.
A four-time World Series champion in pinstripes (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000), Williams is the Yankees’ all-time postseason leader in home runs (22) and RBI (80), ranks second in playoff runs scored (83), hits (128) and doubles (29) and is third in games played (121). He was named the 1996 AL Championship Series Most Valuable Player after batting .474 with two home runs and six RBI in 19 at-bats in the Yankees’ five-game series against the Orioles. In Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS against the Red Sox, Williams hit a 10th-inning home run to win the game for the Yankees.
I remember telling Bernie when the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot came out by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that whether he liked it or not he was officially retired. He just laughed and said, “Man, I can’t believe five years went by so fast.”
Williams stayed on the ballot for only two years. He received 9.6 percent of the vote in 2012 and 3.3 percent in 2013. Players need to achieve 75 percent of the vote to gain election and are dropped from consideration if they do not get five percent of the vote. I voted for him both years and wish more of my colleagues recognized the Hall of Fame worthiness of his career.
A team from the Harlem Little League was on the field before the game to meet with Yankees players before Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The youngsters got to watch batting practice from in front of the dugout and chat with players as they walked up to the cage.
The group was provided tickets to the game. It is all part of an initiative by Major League Baseball and ESPN to bring attention to Little League programs around the country. Local teams will be highlighted throughout the season on the “Sunday Night Baseball” cablecasts.
The Yankees-Red Sox series finale is the first Sunday Night Baseball game of the season. The Yankees have four Sunday night games on ESPN before the end of May. When they return from the upcoming trip to Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Detroit, the Yankees will have their first Subway Series against the Mets at the Stadium with the Sunday game April 26 scheduled for 8:05 p.m.
The next time the Yankees and the Red Sox hook up for a series at Fenway Park the Sunday game May 3 will have an 8:05 p.m. start. The Yankees’ May 24 game at home against the Rangers is also a Sunday night game.
Clubs are limited to six appearances on Sunday Night Baseball, so the Yankees will have no more than two such games after May. Sunday games for the Yankees that do yet have announced starting times are June 14 at Baltimore, June 21 at home against the Tigers, July 26 at Minneapolis, Aug. 23 at Cleveland, Aug. 30 at Atlanta, Sept. 20 against the Mets at Citi Field and Sept. 27 at home against the White Sox.