Coming Friday, the Yankees will sign Bernie Williams to a minor league contract, after which he will retire as a Yankee. This will happen nine years after he played his final game with the American League team from New York.
The Yankees will retire his number 51 one month later on May 24.
The former center fielder went on with a career in the music business as he is a gifted guitar player. In 2003, while still an active player he released his first album named the Journey Within.
The fan favorite played sixteen seasons with the Yankees and appeared in five consecutive All Star Games from 1997 through 2001. Williams officially ends his career with a .297 batting average with 287 homers and 1,257 runs batted in. In 1998 he won the American League batting title with an average of .339. In his sixteen years with the Yankees, Williams won four World Series rings (1996, 1998-2000). After the 2006 season, the Yankees made Williams a minor league offer which he refused.
After the numbers 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 6 (Joe Torre), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard), 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera), 44 (Reggie Jackson) and 49 (Ron Guidry), Williams’ number is the eighteenth number that will be retired by the Yankees.
Williams was the first of the core five (Jeter, Posada and Pettitte and Rivera next to Williams) that stopped playing (though not officially), so three more numbers are expected to be retired in the coming years.