Jack Curry gives Paulie the bad news

Mike Mussina calls the kettle black
Suzyn Waldman's dramatic moment, in hindsight

In a rather amusing piece on The Times’ Bats blog, Jack Curry details how he broke the uniform news to Paul O’Neill. When told that someone new would be wearing 21, Paul handled himself quite diplomatically. He ran into the dugout and chucked his bat, batting gloves, helmet and the Gatorade cooler onto the field. Wait. Just kidding. In reality, he cautioned against expecting one’s number to be retired. “You don’t ever take anything like that for granted,” he said.

Mike Mussina calls the kettle black
Suzyn Waldman's dramatic moment, in hindsight
  • Marsha

    O. . .

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.


  • E-ROC

    Paul’s a realist.

  • Chris

    that number should be retired

  • Count Zero

    Out here in the fields…I fight for my meals.

    I honestly believe 21 should be retired. I’m not so hot on 51, but I am on 21.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      To be fair, if 21 is retired, 51 should definitely earn a spot in Monument Park.

      • Count Zero

        Yeah in any objective mind — but I’m not a fair kind of guy. ;-)

        Bernie’s farewell antics left a bad taste in my mouth. Paulie on the other hand…what could have been better than that final Stadium at bat in the ’01 WS. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. For that one moment, no one doubted that Yanks fans are the best in sports.

        • Casper

          Bernie’s “farewell antics” have nothing to do with what he did on the field for 16 years. We’ll all have forgotten about his exit within a couple of years, and it’s really only fresh in our minds because of Cashman’s comments on the subject this offseason. (Full disclosure, I don’t think 51 should be retired.)

          • Count Zero

            Again — I fully admit I’m not being objective about it. If I was being objective about it, I would say that only Jeter and Mo even have a fair argument for having their numbers retired.

            To justify having your number retired at this juncture in Yankee history, you really need to be a first ballot HOFer in addition to having four rings IMO.

            But I really did love Paulie. :-)

  • BigBlueAL

    Of course Bernie Williams’ number should be retired. He played his entire 16-year career with the Yankees, and all you have to do is look at his career rankings in Yankees history and it becomes pretty obvious, let alone when you take into consideration his post-season stats. Oneill, with as much as i loved # 21, didnt play his whole career with the Yanks, and i believe if you retire his number then you have ALOT of other players similar to him who then should be retired as well. C’mon, Bernie, Mo and Jeter are the biggest locks for their numbers to be retired since Thurman Munson. Besides them each havin 4 rings (hopefully Jeter and Mo will add to that before they r done) they have played their ENTIRE career with the Yanks, and that is the biggest point to me. If Dave Winfield doesnt get his number retired, along with guys like Catfish and presumably Goose as well, then Oneill shouldnt get his number retired. But anyone who questions retiring the numbers of Jeter, Bernie, Mo and Torre should have their head examined…..

  • Sciorsci

    Seriously, stop with the number retirement talk. The Yanks – for all their greatness – have already retired too many numbers. Granted, some of that is a result of having historically great players. But there’s a difference between the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio quality of player and the Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill quality of player. As it is, there are guys who have had their numbers retired by the Yankees that are questionably deserving.

    What’s going to happen? Starting middle infielders wearing number 93? Keep retiring numbers for guys who were very good but not all-time greats and that’s where you’re headed. Bernie should have his number retired? Are you kidding? So I guess Posada should too? And what about Dave Winfield? No love for him? Hideki Matsui? Tino Martinez? Mariano Duncan? Shelley Duncan?

    Hey, I have an idea – the Yanks were the first team to wear numbers, maybe they should just retire every number now, since just about every one of those numbers has been worn by some good player along the way – then they can go back to wearing jerseys with no numbers at all. It would change Michael Kay’s little uniform description, though.

    No names, or numbers anymore… of course.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Sciorsci, you have hit the nail square on the head.

    I was a huge Billy Martin fan but to retire his number (1), it’s a joke. I’m sorry I have to say this but Roger Maris (9) is the most overrated underrated play of all time.

    Down the list a little further,Reggie Jackson (44). Reggie was a rent a star who spent 5 years with the team. MVP’s none, Nettles finished ahead of him in the MVP voting in 77 and 78 he was out of the running in 79 and had a bad final year with the team, 1981. He finished a distant second in the MVP voting in 1980 and he had the big game 6 in 77 and a game turning play in game game 4 in 78. That in a nutshell is the Reggie story with the Yanks, that sure falls short of number retiring in my book.

    I love Paul, I love Bernie but it has to stop somewhere. Jeter is a franchise icon, yes to him and although it’s a moot point, yes to Mo.

  • Joey h

    I mean not for nothing paul was without a doubt a great player with great heart who retire prematurely in the eyes of some like mike Kay said last year he coulda gone for another 2 years give or take a year. bottom line the yankees are running out of numbers! bernie to me was much more of a yankee than paul will ever be! paul retired and ran off to cincin to be a broadcaster and wasnt untill recently he made somewhat consistent appearances on the YES network.joe torre was a legendary manager. he JUST LEFT the arent handing out number 6 and 51 will not be handed out EVER. pauls been gone for a while so its only fair.this is getting more attention than it deserves. to me, you shouldnt retire a # unless you’ve been there 10+ years. look @ reggie he was there less than that i think 5 years and he got retired not to mention the amount of shit he stirred up when they got dubbed the name “the bronx zoo” sorry paul if this leaves a sour taste in your mouth but deal with it bro.