Bernie Williams is a New York Yankees legend. Shockingly, he was almost traded right before the Yankees won three straight championships.
Bernie Williams is still a New York Yankees fan favorite after all these years. Despite the constant disrespect of being on the outside of “The Core Four,” Williams was a huge part of four Yankees championships.
However, Williams was reportedly very close to missing out on the 1998-2000 championships.
Did a story last week on Randy Smith’s days as Tigers GM. Here’s the release that was ready to go on the Bernie Williams trade till Yankees GM Bob Watson backed out. pic.twitter.com/5K5x01KfcA
— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) December 28, 2019
Apparently, Williams was nearly traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1997. In return for the eventual Monument Park inductee, the Yankees would have received two unimpressive minor league pitchers.
Neither one of those pitchers found sustained major league success. Per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, Mike Drumright never even made it to the major leagues and Roberto Duran appeared in just 31 games as a reliever.
Apparently, the Yankees backed out of the deal at the last minute and New Yorkers are forever thankful. Williams would go on to be an All-Star four more times and win three more Gold Gloves.
And of course, he was a catalyst in the Yankees’ three-straight championships from 1998 to 2000. Williams even won the American League batting title the year after the proposed trade with a .339 average.
Of course, had the trade gone through, there is no doubt that it would have drastically altered the future of the franchise. The Yankees would have moved a fan-favorite stud for a couple “slap—- prospects” as Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell would refer to them. Yankees fans wouldn’t have even had the pleasure of seeing him play guitar at Yankee Stadium. Maybe Stephen Tarpley or Ben Heller would be wearing the No. 51 by now.
Thankfully, the deal didn’t happen and Bernie Williams was able to build a lasting legacy in the Bronx.