It started almost the instant that the 2012 ballot was released.
Yankees fans were saying "Bernie Williams is on the ballot, he should make it."
No, sorry Yankees fans, he should not.
Now before Yankees fans jump all over me because I'm a fan of the Boston Red Sox, let's get something straight. If Bernie Williams truly deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, I'd admit it and have no issue with it.
This isn't some sort of column in which I'm going to tell you Bernie Williams was overrated (he wasn't) was not that good (he was) or was not a truly great baseball player and person (he was both).
The Baseball Hall of Fame is not just for the standard "great" ballplayer though. In order to properly assess Bernie's Hall credentials, the first thing one must do is compare him to other outfielders.
For an outfielder to finish his career with less than 2,500 hits (2,336), less than 300 home runs (287), a career average lower than .300 (.297) and having never stole more than 20 bases in a single season (career high 17 in 1996)—to make the Hall Of Fame seems absurd.
Williams made the All-Star team five times and won four gold gloves. The highest he ever finished in the MVP voting was 7th in 1998. He led the league in a major statistical category just once over the course of his 16 year career when he hit .339 that same year.
His 1366 runs scored make him tied for 95th all time with fellow non-Hall member Vada Pinson. His four Gold Gloves are nice but that doesn't place him in an elite status among AL outfielders.
Williams rightfully deserves some extra consideration for his place on four World Series Championship teams. That should not, and in all likelihood, will not be enough to put him over the top.
Consider the numbers of another former American League outfielder who has not made the Hall Of Fame.
This player was a three-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove selection (tied for third all-time in AL History). The outfielder also had a career average of .272, hit 385 home runs, knocked in 1,384 runs and scored 1,470 runs. He paced the American League in a major statistical category six times, leading the league in home runs (22) OPS (.937) and total bases (215) in 1981. He also led the AL in on-base percentage in 1982 at .402, and runs and OPS in 1984 with 121 and .920.
Dwight Evans never won the World Series titles that Bernie Williams did, and in the end, Evans had a great career, but not a Hall Of Fame one. That's indicative of how tough it is to make The Hall, and it's also an indicator of why Bernie Williams won't be attending a Cooperstown enshrinement.