Bernie Williams

Latin Jazz Guitarist and NY Yankees World Series Champion

Williams grew up in Puerto Rico where he discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time. He was eight years old when he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his merchant-marine father brought home from Spain. Williams felt that same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat, and the young music student and athlete quickly excelled in both pursuits. He attended the special performing arts school Escuela Libre de Musica and became one of the most noted young athletes on the island for both track and field and baseball. When the 17-year-old Williams signed a contract with the New York Yankees, he brought his love of music with him. During his 16-year career with the Yankees, he anchored this historic team as its center fielder, winning four World Series Championships. Williams is a five-time All-Star and has more post-season RBIs to his credit than any other player in major league history in addition to four Gold Glove awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award, and the 1998 American League batting title. Williams is also among the Yankees all-time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance statistics standing alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

During his time with the Yankees, the classically trained musician was known to have a guitar in his locker or equipment bag and released two Latin jazz albums. In 2006, Williams retired from baseball and became more deeply involved in his musical pursuits. Ten years later, he graduated from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar and composition.

Over the years, Williams has been a constant and reliable advocate with a belief that all children have a right to receive music education as part of their opportunity in school. Williams currently serves on The NAMM Foundation Board of Directors, he is an artist with the Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts program, and he is a frequent guest artist with musical notables around the globe.