Bernie Williams - No. 51 (1991-2006)
Five All-Star game appearances, four Gold Gloves, and the 1998 American League Batting Title are all on the resume of former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams. The 43 year old is making his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot this off-season after playing 16 seasons in pinstripes and was at the heart of four World Series Championships. Williams became a fan favorite in the Bronx as heposted statistics that led to MVP contention in the 90's. Awards can feel sweet for any player after a season, but the greatest reward is to be enshrined in Cooperstown with the other legends.
The former center-fielder holds a .297 career batting average, and managed to get 2,336 hits to make him No. 5 on the All-Time Yankees list. 500 home runs is usually the mark to be locked in for a spot in Cooperstown. Bernie Williams was only able to knock 287 home-runs in his career, but that was still enough to make him 6th on the list of Yankee greats. The same goes for his runs batted in with 1,257. Williams was most likely not the most feared hitter in his era, but he was respected as one of the most well-rounded.
Williams came through in the clutch for the Yankees, when it mattered most in the post-season. He has cemented himself as one of the legends of the Fall with 22 home-runs and 80 RBI's. Will it be enough to have him enter Baseball Heaven's pearly gates on his first try? Probably not. Williams will most likely be on the ballot for a few years to come.
Don Mattingly - No. 23 (1982-1995)
Don Mattingly is entering his second season as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager and his 12 season
on the Hall of Fame ballot. The former Yankee captain received a 13.6% of the vote last
year and would have to jump all the way to 75% in order to finally make it. The chances are not looking very likely for him. His statistics make a very attractive case, but the fact that injuries prevented him from being consistent hurt his career numbers in the latter half. The argument is always that since Kirby Puckett made it, so should Don Mattingly. The numbers are strikingly similar 2,153 hits, 22 home-runs, 1,099 RBI's are only a few of or even over Puckett's final totals.
Mattingly is remembered as one of the greatest Yankees to ever don the pinstripes with his number retired and a plaque in Memorial Park. He may be managing in Los Angeles, but Donnie Baseball will always have a home on 161st Street and River Avenue.
Projection: Neither Don Mattingly nor Bernie Williams will make the 2012 Hall of Fame Class. Both will be on the ballot next year.
Note: Ruben Sierra, a Yankee for five seasons, will most likely not have a Yankee hat on his plaque if he were to make the Hall of Fame. He played ten years with the Texas Rangers and has similar career numbers to those of Bernie Williams, but with nine respective Major League clubs.
Bill Mueller is a name that resonates in the minds of Yankee fans as one of the "Idiots" from the 2004 Boston Red Sox team that surmounted a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to move onto the World Series and bring Boston their first championship since 1918. This will also be his first year on the ballot and quite possibly his last according to Bill James' Hall of Fame monitor.