Bernie Williams on Guitars & MLB

November 1, 2008

“My first year with the Yankees, I went into a store in New York, and bought a multi-effects processor, a Gallien-Krueger amp, and a Fender Strat. I had a lot of access to jazz in Manhattan, and I started listening to guys like Mike Stern, John Scofield, Robben Ford, and Pat Metheny. I found all that to be really interesting harmonically, and I still do. My whole career, I always had a guitar in the clubhouse, and I’d bring an acoustic on the plane. I would sit behind Derek Jeter and serenade him [laughs]. He’d get mad if he was trying to sleep, but sometimes he’d sing along. It’s a lot scarier for me to play a gig than to face a new pitcher. In baseball, you play so many games that you always have a chance to redeem yourself. But, in music, you only have one chance to make a good impression.”


Williams hit 287 home runs in his career. Here he talks about his all-time favorite.

“The ones I hit in clutch situations were all special—playoffs, World Series, any game winner—but I do have a favorite. We were playing in Oakland and the bases were loaded. I had fouled off a few pitches and the count was at 2-2. The pitcher throws a ball low and I started walking to first base, because I had forgotten what the count was. I thought it was a full count. I got halfway down the line and everybody is yelling at me. The crowd is calling me names, the umpire is waving his finger at me. It was a really embarrassing moment. I picked up my bat, got back in the batter’s box, and the very next pitch I hit over the fence for a grand slam. That’s got to be my favorite home run of all time.”

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