Yankees retire Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 jersey, Cashman booed

On Sunday, the Yankees retired his No. 21 — the 23rd player or manager in the franchise to have that happen.

Associated Press

Aug 22, 2022, 1:40 PM

Updated 660 days ago

Share:

Yankees retire Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 jersey, Cashman booed
Eight years ago, Paul O’Neill was thanked by the Yankees for his contributions to their dynasty with a plaque in Monument Park.
On Sunday, the Yankees retired his No. 21 — the 23rd player or manager in the franchise to have that happen.
This ceremony was slightly different from others.
Because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, O’Neill couldn’t interact with any current New York players in the dugout. And with the Yankees stuck in a 4-14 rut, there were noticeable boos for managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman during the 33-minute ceremony.
New York’s first jersey retirement ceremony since 2017, when Derek Jeter’s No. 2 was honored, had the usual video tributes and messages, gifts and an acceptance speech.
During his roughly eight-minute speech, the 59-year-old O’Neill — an All-Star right fielder and now a popular team announcer — thanked the fans numerous times. He opened by saying: “You Yankee fans have obviously been practicing and it sounds great still today.”
A four-time World Series champion as a Yankee, O’Neill was nicknamed “The Warrior” by late owner George Steinbrenner. “The fans remember the teams that win and we won,” O’Neill said. “And we won a lot.”
O’Neill hit .303 with 185 homers and 858 RBIs for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001. He was a four-time All-Star with the team and won the 1994 AL batting title during a strike-shortened season.
He wore No. 21 for his entire big league career, starting as a rookie with the Reds in 1985.
“That’s why I’m celebrating this day, because this is the biggest dream that I’ve ever had in my life,” O’Neill said in his speech.
Former trainer Gene Monahan was there, along with teammates Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.
Six minutes into the ceremony, O’Neill stood next to his wife and family to unveil his retire number in Monument Park. He was brought on to the field in a golf cart as highlights played on the videoboard — including his final home game in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series and his running catch to end Game 5 of the 1996 World Series.
Then there were brief video messages from Jeter, Joe Torre, David Cone and Don Mattingly, along with a message from Roberto Clemente Jr., the Hall of Famer’s son and a former Yankee Spanish-language announcer.
“Obviously, Paul is a central figure in one of the many great times in Yankee baseball and dynasties,” manager Aaron Boone said before the Yankees faced Toronto, adding, “It’s fun to know Paul in a friendly, even silly guy that sometimes is a contrast with who he was in between those lines.”
Steinbrenner gave O’Neill a framed plaque of his jersey; other gifts included a custom wine bottle with his No. 21, a framed jersey signed by current Yankees and a water cooler, a nod to his tendencies to slam water coolers in the dugout.
The signed framed jersey was the closest thing O’Neill had to any interaction with New York’s current roster because of his vaccination status; unvaccinated personnel are barred from interaction with any players on the bench or in the locker room.
O’Neill has called games on the YES Network from his Ohio home since the pandemic 2020 season. In an interview with NJ Advance Media published Saturday, O’Neill said of his vaccination status, “I’d rather not discuss that.”
Since O’Neill retired after the 2001 World Series, the only New York player to wear No. 21 was reliever LaTroy Hawkins at the opening of the 2008 season, but he switched back not too long after the season started.


More from News 12
2:34
Prosecutor: Suspect taken into custody in deadly shooting in West Carteret

Prosecutor: Suspect taken into custody in deadly shooting in West Carteret

1:26
Clear skies overnight with a sunny Thursday ahead; tracking storm potentials for Friday

Clear skies overnight with a sunny Thursday ahead; tracking storm potentials for Friday

2:17
KIYC documentary prompts state senator to call for all rape kits in New Jersey to be tested

KIYC documentary prompts state senator to call for all rape kits in New Jersey to be tested

0:22
Town officials: Madison man accused of vandalizing Pride flags in town

Town officials: Madison man accused of vandalizing Pride flags in town

2:08
Jersey Shore leaders meet with state officials to discuss pop-up party prevention

Jersey Shore leaders meet with state officials to discuss pop-up party prevention

2:23
Somerville police to swear in new K-9 officer they hope will help spread ‘pawsitivity’

Somerville police to swear in new K-9 officer they hope will help spread ‘pawsitivity’

1:57
No, it’s not the Caribbean. New Jersey’s oceanfront really is that clear right now

No, it’s not the Caribbean. New Jersey’s oceanfront really is that clear right now

0:47
Mayor: Administrative mishaps prevent Secaucus from offering full-day pre-K program

Mayor: Administrative mishaps prevent Secaucus from offering full-day pre-K program

0:39
East Brunswick High School printing new page for yearbook amid photo controversy

East Brunswick High School printing new page for yearbook amid photo controversy

1:56
NJ Transit, Amtrak lay out service disruption initiative following system failures in May

NJ Transit, Amtrak lay out service disruption initiative following system failures in May

0:24
New Jersey to receive over $30 million from Johnson & Johnson talc settlement

New Jersey to receive over $30 million from Johnson & Johnson talc settlement

1:40
NJ native Kristoffer Diaz dishes on Tony nomination for ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

NJ native Kristoffer Diaz dishes on Tony nomination for ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

0:28
‘Operation Cruel Summer’ nets 4 arrests in Middlesex County

‘Operation Cruel Summer’ nets 4 arrests in Middlesex County

1:55
Waldwick's boil water advisory remains in effect Wednesday due to nearly 2-day water main break

Waldwick's boil water advisory remains in effect Wednesday due to nearly 2-day water main break

0:32
Attorney general: On-duty Franklin Borough police sergeant involved in crash that killed 19-year-old

Attorney general: On-duty Franklin Borough police sergeant involved in crash that killed 19-year-old

0:29
Sussex County school bus driver gets 14 years in prison for driving students around while drunk

Sussex County school bus driver gets 14 years in prison for driving students around while drunk

0:28
Aldi warns customers of data breach involving skimming devices; 2 NJ stores affected

Aldi warns customers of data breach involving skimming devices; 2 NJ stores affected

0:17
Middlesex police: Construction worker killed after being hit by metal beam

Middlesex police: Construction worker killed after being hit by metal beam

0:19
Ridgefield man accused of strangling a child before attempting sexual assault

Ridgefield man accused of strangling a child before attempting sexual assault

2:28
India defeats USA in last Nassau Cricket World Cup match

India defeats USA in last Nassau Cricket World Cup match