When the conversation revolves around the Yankees’ prominent ‘Core Four’ of the late 90s and 2000s, consequently, Bernie Williams is left out. But the former outfielder still makes his presence known at team ceremonies, and on Sunday night in the Bronx, he’ll attend one more for an old teammate.
“Derek Jeter was a great teammate and one of my closest friends on the team in my tenure with the Yankees,” Williams wrote in the New York Post. “He took his role of captain of the team very seriously, and carried on that responsibility with a lot of dignity and class on and off the field.
“He always played the game with a remarkable sense of joy and gratitude. It was truly an honor to share the field with him as teammates and friends during my career and beyond — and it will be an honor to stand with him today as his number 2 is retired and he joins the Yankees immortals in Monument Park — only he became an immortal a long, long time ago.”
Williams, 48, who made his major league debut with New York in 1991, welcomed a 20-year-old Jeter to the show in the spring of 1995, and for 12 seasons, the two sat atop the Yankees’ lineup en route to four world championships. According to Williams, what made Jeter special was his innate ability to block out the noise and exclusively focus on his job.
“The one thing that I have respected most about Derek is that all his success and fame has never really changed him,” Williams said. “His personality and the way he went about his business day in and day out, the way he respected other players, and always appreciated his fans, has remained the same in his life today, now a couple of years away from the game.
“He had a wonderful upbringing with his parents, and it really shows in the way he acts and treats other people, so I have always admired him for that. Throughout his entire career he had the invaluable support of his parents, his sister and his friends outside of baseball, and I think that kept him very grounded.”
Along with Williams, ‘Core Four’ teammates Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada are among a long list of guests expected to be at Yankee Stadium for Jeter’s enshrinment into Monument Park on Sunday night.