There are several MLB players who had great careers. The New York Yankees will get to honor one of these players, one of their own. This summer, the Yankees will retire Paul O’Neill’s number 21. Here is a look at O’Neill’s MLB career.
In 1981, O’Neill was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth round. He made his MLB debut on September 3, 1985. He only played five games this season, but he had four hits in 12 at-bats, hitting .333.
O’Neill played eight years with the Reds batting .259 with 306 walks 61 stolen bases, 411 RBIs, 96 home runs, 456 strikeouts and a .767 OPS.
In 1990, O’Neill and the Reds made it to the postseason after placing first in their division with a 91-71 record. The Reds won the NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates, moving on to the World Series to face the Oakland Athletics. O’Neill batted .310 with three strike outs, six walks, five RBIs, one home run and an OPS of .946.
O’Neill was an All-Star during the 1991 season.
On November 3, 1992, O’Neill was traded to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly. Although O’Neill had a decent career with the Reds, his best baseball was yet to come.
New York Yankees
O’Neill’s first year with the Yankees, he batted .311 with 69 strikeouts, 44 walks, 75 RBIs, 20 home runs and a .871 OPS. Overall, he batted .303 with 710 strikeouts, 586 walks, 80 stolen bases, 858 RBIs, 185 home runs and an OPS of .869 with the Yankees.
In the nine years with the Yankees, O’Neill made four All-Star appearances along with five World Series appearances. O’Neill helped the Yankees to win four of them before he retired after the 2001 season.
O’Neill’s career stats in the postseason are a .284 batting average, 38 walks, five stolen bases, 39 RBIs, 11 home runs and a .828 OPS.
Being an All-Star and a World Series Champion are just a few of the accomplishments that O’Neill has achieved. There were several offensively and defensively. For example, O’Neill has only had a total of 48 errors in 17 years.
Also, O’Neill was in the top five for the least amount of errors committed as a right fielder twice, in the 1997 and 1999 seasons. He also was in the top five for fielding percentage as an outfielder, three times with the Reds and three times with the Yankees.
Offensively, O’Neill was in the top 10 in batting average three times, all with the Yankees. His best was in 1994 with a .359 average, first in the AL. He also won the 1994 AL Batting Title and was in the 1991 Home Run Derby.
O’Neill’s No. 21 will be retired on August 21, 2022, which will be “Paul O’Neill Day.” O’Neill will be the 23rd Yankee to have his number retired. This retirement will take place before the Yankees’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The most recent Yankee to have his number retired was Derek Jeter’s No. 2 back in 2017.
There will be no other Yankee to ever wear No. 21 after August 21. Those that watched O’Neill play, remember a few things about him, outside of his offense. He was always hard on himself when playing, yelling at himself or knocking things over in the dugout. He definitely got angry if he didn’t do what he wanted at the plate.
Other great times, were when O’Neill had either fielded the ball or caught it and had to throw someone out at home plate. His arm was incredible. Opponents knew this and they were always hesitant about rounding third base.
Featured Image Courtesy of The Cold Wire
“From Our Haus to Yours“