Paul O’Neill honored 21 to sign up for Ruth’s 3, Gehrig’s 4, Yogi’s 8

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Traded to New York by Cincinnati in November 1992, Paul O’Neill walked out to Monument Park at outdated Yankee Stadium.

“The initially point you look is for Babe Ruth and then you see Lou Gehrig,” O’Neill recalled, “and then all of a sudden you form of graduate to the people today that you have just met in Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle and these iconic names.”

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On Aug. 21, O’Neill’s No. 21 will be additional to the greats in the Bronx, the 23rd participant or manager to have his range retired by the Yankees.

“Just to have that, your number kind of mixed in with some of the greats that ever performed the activity,” he said Wednesday, “it’s the maximum honor that I imagine I’ve at any time been given in baseball.”

New York Yankees' Paul O'Neill waits to be introduced at the Yankees Old Timers' Day baseball game Sunday, June 17, 2018, at Yankee Stadium in New York. 

New York Yankees’ Paul O’Neill waits to be released at the Yankees Previous Timers’ Day baseball sport Sunday, June 17, 2018, at Yankee Stadium in New York. 
(WHD Image/Bill Kostroun, File)

O’Neill claims he chuckles with delight anytime he sees a admirer with his No. 21 jersey at the ballpark.

A 4-time Environment Collection champion for the Yankees, O’Neill was nicknamed “The Warrior” by late operator George Steinbrenner.

“It was virtually embarrassing at the time for the reason that you are still taking part in. You embrace it significantly a lot more when you don’t have to confirm anything at all on the discipline any more,” O’Neill claimed. “I imagine sure individuals are just wired particular methods. Every at-bat, just about every game, every single Planet Series intended a large amount to me. At any time because I commenced actively playing sports against my more mature brothers, it was about winning and dropping. It wasn’t about how you performed. It’s who gained and who dropped. And that is basically how I played my occupation.”

O’Neill hit .303 with 185 homers and 858 RBIs for the Yankees from 1993-2001. He was a four-time All-Star with the group and won the 1994 AL batting title throughout a strike-shortened season.

He wore No. 21 for his total big league career. When it was assigned to O’Neill by the Reds as a rookie in 1985, he remembered again to his childhood.

“The tale where by it began where I kind of believed it was cool was the very first Main League Baseball game that I ever went to, and my father, we ended up at Crosley Subject in Cincinnati and my father put me in a route where No. 21 for the Pittsburgh Pirates was in the track record, staying Roberto Clemente,” O’Neill claimed.

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A plaque for O’Neill in Monument Park was dedicated on Aug. 9, 2014.

Considering that O’Neill’s retirement after the 2001 Earth Sequence, the only Yankees participant to dress in No. 21 was LaTroy Hawkins at the opening of the 2008 period. The pitcher signed with the team through the offseason and wore No. 22 in spring schooling.

Morgan Ensberg wore No. 21 all through spring education and switched to No. 11 when the period started. Hawkins experienced 22 for exhibitions and took above 21 on opening working day. Following stress from supporters, Hawkins went back again to 22 for the 16th sport, on April 16.

“To know that 21 will not be worn in Yankee Stadium is this sort of an honor,” O’Neill explained. “It’s on my intellect all working day. It just retains replaying above and in excess of yet again just how interesting this is.”

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