Yankees to retire Paul O’Neill’s number

dynomite

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The Red Sox have a team Hall of Fame, which is a fine place to recognize players whose status doesn't reach the iconic nature of those whose numbers are retired. Few on this site are bigger Ted boosters than I am, and I still think he falls short of having the number up there. I'm on the fence about Pedroia, though; I could see that one eventually.

I suggest if you want to continue this sidetrack, let's move it to its own thread on the Red Sox mainboard
Fair point! Happy to move things over there.
 

Van Everyman

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As ridiculous as Red Sox fan sturm und drang is, in general I find the Yankees to be equally OTT when it comes to anything tradition- or legacy-related, and certainly with that 90s team. There's the Suzyn Waldmann "oh-my-goodness-gracious" outburst about Clemens in SiaS's box of course, but I also remember little things like Tino Martinez hitting, like, 10 dingers in April when he came back to the Yankees clearly on the back hole or two of his career and everyone acting like the 90s juggernaut had been reanimated. Like a month later, he was DFA'd. This feels kind of consistent with that.
 

terrynever

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A significant number of Yankees fans still say Paul is their favorite Yankee. Every Yankees fan can playback memories of him crying in the outfield, playing after his dad passed, breaking coolers, gunning down runners. Paul is an absolute Yankees legend. I'm not a Sox fan so I can't answer for you, but is that how Sox fans think of Kevin?
My favorite memory is 21 running down Luis Polonia’s ball on a tight hamstring to end Game 5 of WS in 1996.
 

YTF

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Pedroia and Varitek are actually the perfect example of a small number of modern players who will never make the Hall of Fame, but whose Red Sox careers to me are worth memorializing through number retirements, especially because they won't get that same acknowledgement in Cooperstown. I'd also add Dewey Evans and there are other debatable ones (Jerry Remy, Jim Rice, Tony C, Wakefield, etc.).
One of the debatable ones must have slipped in when no one was looking.

49617
 

bankshot1

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There apparently was a misunderstanding. A dented water cooler will be placed in Monument Park and O'Neill will enter Monument Park take one more hack at it.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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A significant number of Yankees fans still say Paul is their favorite Yankee. Every Yankees fan can playback memories of him crying in the outfield, playing after his dad passed, breaking coolers, gunning down runners. Paul is an absolute Yankees legend. I'm not a Sox fan so I can't answer for you, but is that how Sox fans think of Kevin?
I think a possible comp would be Johnny Pesky. I expect that it's hard for most Sox fans to imagine that O'Neill could be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to Red Sox fans, but I get migraines when I try to think like you guys. One difference is that O'Neill played much more of his career in a different uniform, and Pesky's primary other uniform was army fatigues, but my guess is that barely anyone other than Reds fans remember that O'Neill was a Red for so long.

Edit: Actually I think Pesky was a mishipman -- even better uniform.
 

Wingack

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I think a possible comp would be Johnny Pesky. I expect that it's hard for most Sox fans to imagine that O'Neill could be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to Red Sox fans, but I get migraines when I try to think like you guys. One difference is that O'Neill played much more of his career in a different uniform, and Pesky's primary other uniform was army fatigues, but my guess is that barely anyone other than Reds fans remember that O'Neill was a Red for so long.

Edit: Actually I think Pesky was a mishipman -- even better uniform.
Roberto Kelly might remember.
 

terrynever

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I think a possible comp would be Johnny Pesky. I expect that it's hard for most Sox fans to imagine that O'Neill could be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to Red Sox fans, but I get migraines when I try to think like you guys. One difference is that O'Neill played much more of his career in a different uniform, and Pesky's primary other uniform was army fatigues, but my guess is that barely anyone other than Reds fans remember that O'Neill was a Red for so long.

Edit: Actually I think Pesky was a mishipman -- even better uniform.
Johnny Pesky was more like Rizzuto. Except Phil never got traded.
 

jon abbey

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I expect that it's hard for most Sox fans to imagine that O'Neill could be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to Red Sox fans, but I get migraines when I try to think like you guys.
Did you write this strangely, or are you a Yankee fan? Pretty sure the former, just checking.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Did you write this strangely, or are you a Yankee fan? Pretty sure the former, just checking.
Is it strange? I think it means what I meant it to mean -- that I bet it's hard for most of us (Sox) fans to imagine that O'Neill could really be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to us (Sox) fans, given how unbearably beloved Pesky is to us. But, then, I said, maybe you guys do love him (O'Neill) that much -- but I didn't want to think about that too much because thinking like you guys (Yankees fans like Crow, who I quoted) makes my head hurt.
 

jon abbey

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Is it strange? I think it means what I meant it to mean -- that it's hard for most of us (Sox) fans to imagine that O'Neill could really be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to us (Sox) fans, given how unbearable beloved Pesky is to us. But, then, I said, maybe you guys do love him (O'Neill) that much -- but I didn't want to think about that too much because thinking like you guys (Yankees fans like Crow, who I quoted) makes my head hurt.
Yeah the way you wrote it, I thought the 'you guys' referred to the initial 'I expect that it's hard for most Sox fans to imagine' (I think? Now I'm confused.), but thanks for clarifying.
 

terrynever

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Is it strange? I think it means what I meant it to mean -- that I bet it's hard for most of us (Sox) fans to imagine that O'Neill could really be as beloved to Yankees fans as Pesky is to us (Sox) fans, given how unbearably beloved Pesky is to us. But, then, I said, maybe you guys do love him (O'Neill) that much -- but I didn't want to think about that too much because thinking like you guys (Yankees fans like Crow, who I quoted) makes my head hurt.
Why was Pesky so beloved? Refresh my memory. I’m old.
 

jon abbey

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I checked his postseason numbers just now because I thought maybe he was awesome in the postseason and that's why he is getting this, but he was amusingly awesome the years NY went out in the ALDS (95 and 97) and solid but nothing special the years they made long postseason runs (96, 98-01).

Postseason OPS by year for NY:

1995: 1.292 (5 games)
1996: .611 (13 games)
1997: 1.342 (5 games)
1998: .806 (13 games)
1999: .563 (11 games)
2000: .800 (16 games)
2001: .842 (13 games)
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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A significant number of Yankees fans still say Paul is their favorite Yankee. Every Yankees fan can playback memories of him crying in the outfield, playing after his dad passed, breaking coolers, gunning down runners. Paul is an absolute Yankees legend. I'm not a Sox fan so I can't answer for you, but is that how Sox fans think of Kevin?
A significant number of Red Sox fans still say Tony Conigliaro is their favorite Red Sox. It doesn’t mean that they should hang his 25 in right field.

At the end of the day, whatever, I don’t care if the Yankees start using letters on the back of their jerseys but Paul O’Neill is a little goofy. Babe Ruth. Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle. Paul O’Neill? Sure.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Maybe the best analogy isn't Trot, or Dewey, or Youk... but is Remy.

Sure Remy wasn't quite the player O'Neill was, but his Red Sox career was certainly passable with some All-Star appearances (edit: actually just one, in his first year in Boston)... and Remy's contributions post-Sox certainly exceed O'Neill's post-MFY.

I hated O'Neill as a player -- his incessant whining about every called strike was a constant lesson for my Yankee-fan young son. ["If you want to be like a Yankee, be like Bernie."] ANd I think retiring his number is ridiculous. But if the Sox retired Remy's #2 (allowing Xander to retain it), I'd kinda be okay with it. [Better solution is Red Sox Hall of Fame, name on the broadcast booth, maybe a statue, and leave #2 for Bogaerts.]
 

terrynever

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Nope, just unceremoniously dumped mid season by George Weiss when Casey wanted Enos Slaughter back on the roster and told Weiss that Scooter was toast.
I thought it was August 1956 and Phil was 40. Yankees of that era were known for their waiver pickups. Slaughter was older than Phil, which pissed Phil off. Casey made this call, and Phil never accepted Casey when he became manager. There was bad blood stemming from things Casey said about his aging CF.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Why was Pesky so beloved? Refresh my memory. I’m old.
Gritty player, all star, WWII vet, manager, commentator, radio voice for a few years, and associated with the club as an instructor for nearly 5 decades. Glorified by David Halberstam. Huge force for the Jimmy Fund. He was a fixture at Fenway. In later years, if you got to the ball park early, you could find him sitting next to the pole named after him signing autographs and telling stories about playing with Ted Williams, or how he taught Wade Boggs to hit off the monster. If Fenway ever took a human form, it would be Johnny Pesky.
 

Deweys New Stance

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I thought it was August 1956 and Phil was 40. Yankees of that era were known for their waiver pickups. Slaughter was older than Phil, which pissed Phil off. Casey made this call, and Phil never accepted Casey when he became manager. There was bad blood stemming from things Casey said about his aging CF.
It was August '56. Scooter was 38, had pretty much lost his starting job at SS the year before, and had not had a good season since '53. McDougald was 28 and having a very good season at short. Slaughter could still hit a little and Casey always loved his platoon pieces. So it was an understandable move, but Rizzuto didn't think he was done and was still pretty angry about it.

edit: As long as we're on the subject of Rizzuto and Stengel, I should also point out that the Scooter was a Brooklyn/Queens boy who, prior to signing with the Yanks in 1937, went to a tryout with the Dodgers in 1935. Even though he could obviously play, he was rejected at that tryout for being too small by....Dodgers manager Casey Stengel. So he got cut by Stengel at both the beginning and end of his career.

And now that I've exhausted that diversion, we can get back to discussing how ridiculous it is that the Yanks are retiring Jethro's # :p
 
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Deweys New Stance

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And since I mentioned him upthread, I went and looked up Tony Lazzeri.
Career WAR 47.7, HoF, 12 seasons in pinstripes. He wore 4 different numbers for the Yanks, and all of them are retired for someone else:

5 DiMaggio
6 Torre
7 Mantle
23 Mattingly

Talk about not catching a break.
 

YTF

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And since I mentioned him upthread, I went and looked up Tony Lazzeri.
Career WAR 47.7, HoF, 12 seasons in pinstripes. He wore 4 different numbers for the Yanks, and all of them are retired for someone else:

5 DiMaggio
6 Torre
7 Mantle
23 Mattingly

Talk about not catching a break.
How many guys can claim his number was retired 4 times with the same team.
 

terrynever

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And since I mentioned him upthread, I went and looked up Tony Lazzeri.
Career WAR 47.7, HoF, 12 seasons in pinstripes. He wore 4 different numbers for the Yanks, and all of them are retired for someone else:

5 DiMaggio
6 Torre
7 Mantle
23 Mattingly

Talk about not catching a break.
Died at 42, probably of an epileptic seizure.
 

worm0082

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And since I mentioned him upthread, I went and looked up Tony Lazzeri.
Career WAR 47.7, HoF, 12 seasons in pinstripes. He wore 4 different numbers for the Yanks, and all of them are retired for someone else:

5 DiMaggio
6 Torre
7 Mantle
23 Mattingly

Talk about not catching a break.
I’ve never understood why Frank Crosetti didn’t have his number retired or a plaque. Wore mostly #2 for almost 40 years. 17 championship rings. It should have been retired for him way before Jeter came along.

Early in his career he also wore 5 & 1.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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O’Neill was obviously an excellent player, but in the context of the Yankees history, I’m not really sure I see the significance. Bernie Williams, Posada, Pettitte all seem more meaningful, no? I’d put O’Neill with guys like Tino Martinez, David Cone, etc.

(And I had no idea Bernie, Posada, and Pettitte all had their numbers already retired too. Would still put O’Neill well below those guys, but if Yankee fans are cool with it, what’s the harm?)
 

Deweys New Stance

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I’ve never understood why Frank Crosetti didn’t have his number retired or a plaque. Wore mostly #2 for almost 40 years. 17 championship rings. It should have been retired for him way before Jeter came along.

Early in his career he also wore 5 & 1.
Crosetti is another good one to bring up. I suspect he never was considered for number retirement because
1) While he was a solid player for them for a very long time, he was never a star and always overshadowed by several other guys on the roster
2) He coached for a long time but never managed
3) He left them in '69 to go coach for the Seattle Pilots (Bouton talked about what a crotchety guy he was in Ball Four) and was out of baseball by '72, before Steinbrenner owned the team. The CBS years were mostly bleak in the Bronx, and by the time the Yanks had their late-70's renaissance he was long retired and I suspect largely forgotten. He apparently never came back for Old Timers' Day or any other ceremonies.
4) Related to 3), he was never a warm, beloved personality like Yogi or Rizzuto, or a fiery leader like Martin or Stengel

But yeah, you would think 37 years in uniform with the team would at least get him a plaque in Monument Park.
 

RG33

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Wow. This is super odd to me. I mean, the guy was a solid to very good player, but I barely think of him when I think of the Yankees WS run in the 90’s — I think of Jeter, Pettite, Clemens, Bernie, Posada long before I ever get to this guy. I guess the Yankees are really hard up for some nostalgia since it has been 12 years since they’ve been relevant. Very strange.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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All I can picture is a modern day George Costanza saying "We're going to have the Orioles in town for a 3 game series in May - how can we get fans to show up for these crappy games?"

As much as it pains me to say it, the Yankees have a pantheon unrivaled in American sports - Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Berra, Dickey, Jeter, Rizzuto, etc... Paul O'Neill? How the hell does he belong? Wally Pip has a higher WAR as a Yankee.

Moose Skowron must be rolling over in his grave.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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And since I mentioned him upthread, I went and looked up Tony Lazzeri.
Career WAR 47.7, HoF, 12 seasons in pinstripes. He wore 4 different numbers for the Yanks, and all of them are retired for someone else:

5 DiMaggio
6 Torre
7 Mantle
23 Mattingly

Talk about not catching a break.
He's honored at the clubhouse in San Francisco where he honed his young baseball talent.
The same ballfield later to host @wdichtel @spacemansbong (are they gone?!) @MainerInExile @Old Fart Tree @SoxFanInCali drunken dizzy bat races
 

RIrooter09

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Roy White has the same career fWAR as O’Neill. Two rings, played his entire career with the Yankees. When is his number getting retired?
 

Deweys New Stance

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Roy White has the same career fWAR as O’Neill. Two rings, played his entire career with the Yankees. When is his number getting retired?
He came to mind for me as well. 15 seasons, a couple really good ones, but always overshadowed by 2-3 other guys. And he can't have his number retired because it already was for Torre. Ironically he wore 21 for one season as well before switching to 6 for the bulk of his career, both numbers now retired for people arguably less deserving of the honor.