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Saturday, February 10, 2007

The end of an era in the Bronx

By David

Bernie Williams, a staple in the Yankees lineup since 1991, will not be headed to Spring Training this season with New York. As a result of a congested outfield, there is no room on the Yankees roster for the 16-year veteran.

The best that New York could offer him was a non-guaranteed Minor League contract, but Bernie was not enticed by the proposal. Williams has only played for the Yankees during his illustrious big league career, but it seems that he will be moving onto another organization.

The five time all-star told reporters ''I think if they wanted me, they probably would have signed me already.'' That estimation is probably true, but it's still difficult to imagine Bernie not wearing pinstripes.

Last season there was speculation that he might not sign with the Yankees, but he made the team and produced exceptionally well. In 131 games, he batted .281 with 12 home runs and 61 RBI's. The leadership that he brought to the clubhouse will be greatly missed. Bernie was the type of player who was popular with the fans, did not cause trouble and went out and performed every night. He was the quintessential teammate to have. Now, another team will greatly benefit from his services.

Even if he struggled during the regular season, it was a guaranteed fact that he would come through in the playoffs. Williams will leave the Yankees as ''baseball's all-time leader in postseason home runs [22] and RBI [80].''

Bernie also ranks very high on the Yankees all-time leaders list. He is fifth in games played, third in at bats, fifth in runs, fourth in hits, second in doubles, sixth in home runs and sixth in RBI.

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