Former Yankees outfielder Gerald Williams, a close friend of Derek Jeter, dies at 55
Via social media, Derek Jeter made the sad announcement that a treasured friend and former Yankees teammate had died Tuesday.
“Gerald Williams passed away this morning after a battle with cancer,’’ Jeter said through the Players Tribune. “To my teammate and one of my best friends in the world, rest in peace, my brother.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Liliana, and their whole family.’’
Williams, just 55, had two tours with the Yankees and spent the final two years of his career with the Mets, 2004-05.
In a statement released by the Yankees, Bernie Williams said he was "deeply saddened about the passing of my good friend, Gerald Williams.
"I remember our time in the minors when we were roommates…through thick and thin, we had each other’s backs,'' said Bernie Williams. "We used to talk and dream about how it would be like to play in the big leagues.
"He had more power, he was faster, and definitely had an exponentially better throwing arm than me, so we used to joke around about him being called up by the Yankees first.
"We played side-by-side in the big leagues for a little while, so our dream did come true. He was a stand-up individual with great character and integrity throughout his whole life. Even though our lives went in separate ways, I always considered him a true friend and a mentor. I will miss him a lot.”
"Today we lost a great teammate, wonderful person and extraordinary human being,'' Mariano Rivera said via Instagram.
A gifted defensive outfielder with speed, Williams – nicknamed “Ice’’ – was a 14th round draft pick by the Yankees in 1987.
Williams broke into the majors with the Yankees in 1992, and was a member of the ’96 club, Jeter’s rookie year.
But Williams did not get a chance to play in postseason on that world championship club; he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in late August in a deal that brought back valuable lefty reliever Graeme Lloyd.
Williams returned to the Yankees as a free agent in June 2001 and was let go the following June.
During a 14-year big-league career, Williams also played for the Braves, Rays and Marlins, slashing .255/.301/.410 and hitting 85 home runs.
His last postseason appearance came as a member of the 1999 Atlanta Braves, against the Yankees in the World Series, won by the Yanks.
Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
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This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Former Yankees outfielder Gerald Williams, dies at 55