NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s the end of an era — sort of.

The Yankees say Bernie Williams will sign a minor league contract Friday and then retire, nine years after playing his last game.

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New York said Wednesday it will host a news conference with Williams before Friday night’s game against the Mets, and Williams will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Williams became a free agent after the 2006 season, declined the Yankees’ offer to attend spring training in 2007 on a minor league contract and didn’t play again.

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New York announced in February it will retire Williams’ No. 51 on May 24.

Williams was a five-time All-Star with the Yankees from 1991-2006, hitting .297 with 287 homers and 1,257 RBIs. He earned four World Series rings and won the 1998 AL batting title.

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