Bernie Williams’ 22 postseason home runs may rank No. 2 all-time behind Manny Ramirez, but don’t tell him he’s a slugger.
“I certainly did not consider myself a slugger,” said the 42-year-old former outfielder, who recently partnered with Maxwell House to help unveil the newly rebuilt Mill Brook Community Center in the South Bronx. “I don’t think I ever hit more than 30 home runs in a season, and I only did that once. ... I’d like to consider myself not a one-dimensional player.”
The four-time World Series champion caught up with amNewYork last week.
Do you have a favorite season with the Yankees? I tend to think that every season I played with them, I was just very blessed to be part of it. I think that, arguably, ’98 [when he won the batting title] could be considered my best season ever. ... But other than that, every year that we went into the championship and we were able to win it — that was a great year, man.
As you see Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada still going, do you marvel at their careers? Yeah, they’re remarkable careers. ... It’s a testament to their consistency and excellence through the years. You put together a career with more than 10 years in the big leagues, dominating the way they have, it’s amazing that they have done it for as long as they have done it.
Why did you consider quitting baseball around 1990? Growing up in Puerto Rico, [my mom] really wanted me to be some sort of academic guy — a doctor or an engineer or something that would make her proud with her background in education. ... At the time that I was considering quitting baseball, I was certainly going into to college to finish my degree. I went into premed right out of high school, but then the Yankees the Yankees came along and I couldn’t pass it up. It was at a point in Double-A when I was sort of at a crossroads ... My mom said, ‘If you quit now, first of all, you’re always going to regret it. And secondly, you’re going to quit at everything you do. So please do not quit on this.’ I think it was great advice. After that my career just took off.