By Julie Parise, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Conquering the world of baseball with four World Series championships just wasn’t enough for Yankees legend Bernie Williams.
In addition to taking on the music world as a guitarist in post-baseball life, the five-time All-Star has just released a new book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Musical and Athletic Performance.
The former Bronx Bomber was back in the borough Wednesday to lend a helping hand in the community. Participating in an initiative with a Maxwell House Community Project, the slugger worked alongside others as they renovated the newly revitalized Mill Brook Community Center.
After Williams helped to makeover the facility by installing a wheelchair lift, replacing air conditioners and repairing the tile flooring, he spoke to CBSNewYork about the influence of music on his life and how it affected his athletic ability.
“As a young kid, I made a deep connection with music,” he told CBSNewYork. “I think I was able to take all my training elements in music and my work ethic…and the pursuit of perfection and performance, and I was able to translate that into my athletic training early on.”
The former center fielder has come out and praised his former teammate Derek Jeter after he earned his 3,000th hit last month. In an interview with ESPN, Williams went so far as to put Jeter in the same category as Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
But the baseball field isn’t the only place where the former center fielder found himself playing alongside legendary figures.
On his second album, Moving Forward, Williams collaborated with Bruce Springsteen – an experience he said was much like playing alongside Jeter and other baseball greats.
“The experience of playing with a great player, whether it’s baseball or music, players like that have the ability to have everybody around them play better, to raise their level of performance,” he said. “You kind of have this motivation going when you play with a person like that.”
“When I had the opportunity to play with Mr. Springsteen, I knew I had to raise my game up, because I was playing with a legend,” he said. “And the same thing when I was playing with [Derek Jeter].”
Then there’s the question on the mind of many fans: Is the former ALCS MVP considering a return to baseball?
“I think every day that passes, the possibilities are decreasing exponentially. I’m probably just gonna announce my retirement when I’m about 75,” the former Bronx Bomber joked. “At that point I’ll make it official.”
Julie Parise is the features editor for CBSNewYork.com.