Hawkins rewards Yankee fans’ maturity

Yanks nail down first sweep of the year
As Harlan convalesces, Yanks are Joba-less

Nice work, folks. We’ve booed LaTroy Hawkins into submission. I hope everyone feels good about that. Hawkins, previously wearing number 21, will switch to 22 tonight after fans couldn’t deal with someone else wearing the number seven years after Paul O’Neill retired. No word yet if the Omar Moreno or Jimmy Key fans plan on booing Hawkins for the switch.

Yanks nail down first sweep of the year
As Harlan convalesces, Yanks are Joba-less
  • Marsha

    RI-DIC-U-LOUS! Hawkins honors Roberto Clemente by wearing #21 and can’t walk on the field without being booed. I think Paul O’Neill will be embarrassed and dismayed at the switch.

  • Mike R.


    Ro-ger Cle-mens! Clap clap clapclapclap!

  • Rob NY

    The part I dont understand is where has Big Paul been in all of this? Couldn’t he have been a role model and told the fans enough is enough? Or did he like all the attention?

    • Adam

      when michael kay asked him his thoughts on #21 being worn, he clearly skirted the issue and never said that he was okay with someone else wearing it. it was classless of him to not give his blessing.

      • http://footballstu.blogs.sportsline.com/ Stu H

        Gasp! A self-centered former ballplayer. Shocking.

  • RichYF

    As much as the fans are idiots, Paulie O. is responsible too.

    He’s in the booth is he not? He’s still an active part of this team is he not?

    All he’d have to do is release a statement saying, “Thanks for the gesture, but it is not my or your decision. Mr. Hawkins is an excellent player and leader. I am honored to have him wearing the number 21.”

    That’s it. Done. Fans shut up.

    I feel bad for Hawkins. It’s not like he DEMANDED the number. The Yankees gave it to Ensberg in Spring Training. Then Hawkins took it. I see no issue.

    Stay classy NYC.

  • Tripp

    Hey, he’s been pitching pretty well lately! 4 straight good solid outings.

  • pete c.

    RichYF is right, as much as I loved Paulie, it ain’t like Hawkins asked for #3.

  • Alan

    Poor LaTroy, this guy has been treated like crap by the fans ever since he stepped onto the field.

  • Will

    If O’neill was dissapointed by the number being issued, why does he have to say otherwise? I appreciate his honesty.

    Also, why is everyone assuming that the number meant more to Hawkins than the fans? Hawkins never wore #21 to honor Clemente before, so it can’t be that important to him.

    Had Joba or Hughes taken #21, there would be no problem. But, I can understand fans not wanting a one-year middle reliever to be the first after O’Neill to wear #21.

    Hawkins is being paid millions…he doesn’t need sympathy because fans want don’t want him to wear #21!

    • Zack

      That is a ridiculous argument and its beside the point. First of all, booing somebody for wearing a number, a unretired number of a non-hall of fame player who played more of his career as a non-Yankee, is stupid to begin with. Booing him and trying to make him screw up is even worse, in fact, its reprehensible and pretty much the opposite of being a fan.

      Look, a # is a #. As a Yankee fan, you are a fan of the TEAM. Therefore, whoever is wearing that # you root for to succeed and do whatever it takes. Period. Players come and go, and there will be a lot more players much better than O’Neill coming through.

      It’s not a matter of withholding sympathy to a player, its a matter of understanding the nature of the game. There are ways to honor Paul O’Neil, and blindly worshiping the # he wore on his uniform is not one of them.

      This sets a precedent now, where these jackass fans are seen to have “won,” lending even more strength to this behavior and irrational belief. Who knows who will take the # next, but it will be a sad day if the Yankees retire O’Neill’s # and will completely devalue the whole act. He is simply not worthy. Period.

      • Will

        Apparently, a # isn’t just a #, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this debate. Also, that argument is a two street. If you think fans shouldn’t pay attention to numbers, neither should players.

        As for whether O’Neill is worthy of the honor, well, I agree wit you, but that doesn’t mean other fans can’t feel differently. Booing is part of the game…just as you can boo to show displeaure with performance, you can booa player for a decision with which you don’t agree.

  • http://www.mvn.com/mlb-yankees Jim Johnson

    Yeah, I find this whole matter to be pretty embarassing as a Yankee fan.

  • Eric

    I don’t understand, why are people now so supportive of Latroy Hawkins? For the commenter who said he’s been “treated like crap since he got here,” have you ever thought that just maybe he’s been booed not only for wearing 21, but for being a terrible pitcher? I don’t wanna hear how he’s had 4 good outings, Hawkins is a JOKE of a reliever and was an embarrassing signing by Cash to “forify” the pen. Also, if every other free agent Yankee since 2001 has elected not to take 21, why should Latroy Hawkins be the one to break that trend? It’s not like there’s 21 is the only available number, plus he’s not really honoring Clemente with the way he performs, it’s more like he disgraces the number. I’m not saying at all that O’Neill’s number should be retired, as much as I love him, but Hawkins asked for this mess when he switched to 21 AFTER Morgan Ensberg switched off of the number for this very reason.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      That’s absurd. Hawkins is not a joke of a pitcher, the real joke are the fans that booed him relentlessly and people like you who think a 1-yr, $3.75M contract is an embarrasing signing.

      So what, is no one ever allowed to wear number 21 again? The next time somebody tried to take that number, they’ll be booed too. It’s really a great way to honor O’Neill, by humiliating another player. Yankee fans are supposed to be better than this.

      • Eric

        Have you seen Hawkins’ body of work? When has he ever been consistent during his career? It’s signings like these/lack of moves to improve the bullpen that keep Joba in the pen instead of starting, where he should be, as this site talks about all the time. But anyway, if Roger Clemens didn’t switch to 21, his number throughout his career, when O’Neill left, why should Latroy Hawkins wear it? And stop putting yourself on a pedastil by saying “Yankee fans should be better than this.” Paul O’Neill was one of the biggest reasons why the franchise was turned from a huge laughingstock in the late 80s-early 90s to the perennial power that it still is today. He epitomized everything that New Yorkers love in their athletes. OK, maybe it wasn’t handled in an ideal way, but fans are loyal to players who gave everything they had every day they stepped on the field.

        • Eric

          And 2 more things, if you think this is going to make Yankee fans happy just bc he switched to 22, that’s ridiculous. They aren’t just gonna start cheering for him bc he relinquished O’Neill’s number. He still has to PITCH WELL, and if he continues sucking, he’ll get booed more. Also, if he stayed with 21 and pitched well instead of giving it up so quickly and blaming it on the wishes of the fans, I guarantee you Yankee fans would slowly but surely stop booing and chanting for O’Neill bc the number 1 priority Yanks fans care about is winning. I don’t wanna hear about how he “never had a chance.” Sure he did, and he still does, if he pitches well he will be cheered, whether he wears 21 or not. That’s really the bottom line

        • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          Have you seen Hawkins’ body of work? When has he ever been consistent during his career?

          And when, exactly, was O’Neill consistent before joining the Yanks?

          OK, maybe it wasn’t handled in an ideal way, but fans are loyal to players who gave everything they had every day they stepped on the field.

          Hawkins was never given a chance to prove himself in that way; he was booed when they announced the players on Opening Day. It doesn’t matter what he does during the rest of his Yankee tenure, he’s the jerk that tried to take Paul O’Neill’s number from here on out.

          And don’t accuse me of being up on a pedestal because I think Yankee fans shouldn’t have booed Hawkins. You’re the one who thinks fans should have a say in what number a player can wear.

          • Eric

            O’Neill was 29 when he got here, Hawkins is 35 and has been a journeyman pitcher who has bounced from team to team bc of his ineffectiveness and lack of talent. To compare the 2’s consistencies or careers is just idiotic. As far as the fans having a say in who takes what number, it’s pretty obvious that the players have the ultimate say in selecting numbers and since 2001, not one free agent or player who has come to the Yanks has taken O’Neill’s number out of respect for what he accomplished here. So it’s not just the fans who have admiration for O’Neill. And finally, about your ridiculous point about how it doesn’t matter what Hawkins does for the rest of his Yankee tenure, let me remind you of a fellow named Tino Martinez. If you can’t remember, Tino was booed relentlessly when he got here, not only for not performing, but for being the immortal Don Mattingly’s replacement. You could’ve made the argument that in early April of 96, it doesn’t matter what Tino did the rest of his Yankee tenure bc he’ll be known as “the bum who replaced Donnie Baseball.” What did Tino do? Played his ass off and played well, turning the boos to cheers and winning over the fans, which brings me to my previous point – Yankee fans care about WINNING. If Latroy pitches to a 2.5 ERA for the year, I guarantee you he will be cheered when he enters a ballgame and when he’s on the mound. It’s not as hard as you’re making it out to be to win over NY fans.

            • zack

              And what, exactly has HE “accomplished” here? a .301 Yankee batting average? a mixed track record in the PS??? What, he personally won all those WS titles with his grit and anger?? Hogwash. If your argument stood, than every single Yankee on those teams needs the same treatment. Knoblauch, Wells, Clemens, Stanton, Nelson, Medoza, El Duque, Brocious, Martinez all had as much to do with it as O’Neill.

              And clearly, all thee “fans” care about is not simply winning, its demonstrating irrational “loyalty” and “love” for a myth of “championship” players. Yeah, like that Tino Martinez, who “Played his ass off and played well” into getting benched in the 1996 WS for Cecil Fielder, and with a Yankee OPS+ right about league average. I mean, my God!!! If that doesn’t deserve to have a # retired, what does???

              • Eric

                No one said anything about retiring Tino’s number except for you. Also, so you think Tino wasn’t a valuable piece to the 96 team then just bc he had one rough postseason? Why did Yankee fans accept and cheer him then if he was as average as you make him out to be? And if he’s so average, you’re illustrating my point even further. That it doesn’t matter what number is on Hawkins’ back, and no1 is asking him to be a HOF’er either. All he has to do is do his job and help his team win games and he will be appreciated and cheered. The idea that 11 games into the season he has no chance of ever winning over Yankee fans is assinine. Also, I’m pretty sure Hawkins could’ve just stuck with 21 to continue honoring Clemente and shut the fans up by pitching well, like I’ve said earlier. But instead, he chose to give it up, which is fine, but Yankee fans don’t deserve to be reprimanded just bc he can’t handle a little booing in EARLY APRIL

    • Alan

      It really doesn’t matter what he’s done in his career. He doesn’t deserve to be booed everytime he steps out onto the field simply because he chose to wore the number of a fan favorite. Yes, he had some bad outings at the beginning of the season but he was getting booed before he even made his first pitch. That’s entirely irrational and immature. You, as a fan, have no say over what number a player gets to wear. If the team felt Paul O’Neill deserved to have his number retired/not used, they’d have made it so. They didn’t, therefore the number is available to anyone.

      LaTroy Hawkins did absolutely nothing to deserve the harsh reception he received on Opening Day, except wear a number that is for some reason revered and worshipped by some bloodthirsty “fans” Get over it, the number is going to get used again.

      But really, I’m not even sure this has anything to do with the number at all, rather people pining for the “dynasty” years. It’s over, move on. This is a new breed of Yankees baseball and we should be cheering and supporting our current and future teams (and players), not pissing and moaning over the past.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    Bottom line is Paul oneill was a huge reason we have the recent titles that we have.
    He was and always will be my fav player of all time. Im not saying that the yanx must retire his number but it wouldnt be a crime if they did retire it.
    Latroy went about things in a very profesional mammer

    • zack

      So did Scott Brocious, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, Roger Clemens, The Straw, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, and a bunch of other guys. Don’t see anyone attempting to retire their #s. I don’t see anyone lining up to defend Dave Winfield’s #, and he was a Yankee for the same amount of time and was a better player than O’Neill. He had the misfortune of playing on Yankee teams that just couldn’t quite get it done, but thats no fault of his own…

  • Tripp

    Nothing wrong with the Deuce Deuce. He should walk around with tall boy miller lite cans as his trademark.

    Atleast I would.

  • yanks99

    How dare he wear Jimmy Key’s number…I wasn’t going to go to the game tonight, but now I’ll be out in full force.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Forget Jimmy Key, how dare he disgrace Robinson Cano’s rookie year like that!

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

        Or parts of Jorge Posada’s 1997 campaign.

      • Dylan

        Or my sophomore year JV basketball jersey number!!! BOOOOO!

        • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

          or Reuben Droughns

          • Mike R.

            Or Michael Jordan. I know he wore 23 but I don’t like the proximity. Does Hawkins really have the gall to think he is one away from being as good as Jordan!?!?

            • DanElmaleh

              Hawkins is almost as good at baseball as Jordan was.

  • CB

    The booing was not the worst part of it.

    The worst part was people chanting O’Neil’s name while Hawkins was trying to perform.

    You do that not because you want to voice displeasure with performance but because you want to humiliate Hawkins. That was the goal of that mob “justice” – humiliation.

    The chanting and booing started BEFORE Hawkins even threw a pitch.

    And it started actually way before the regular season – it started in spring training when Ensberg got scared off from wearing it.

    It’s just an embarrassment. Huge embarrassment.

  • Curramba

    Guys you have to be serious blaming Pauley because fans are booing someone else wearing his number. You guys need help.

    • rbizzler

      Sorry, but as much as I love Paulie, it is not ‘his’ number. Many people have worn it before him and many will wear it after him as that baby in not getting retired.

      The fact that Paul thinks there is still a possibility that it may be retired is why Paulie was silent on the issue. That, and he is an ex-jock looking for one last stroking from the fanboy contingent.

  • http://davidmnugent.com Dano

    Hawkins IS a joke of a MLB pitcher. Like has been said before, Most Yankee fans do not think the number should be retired, just saved for a player who has a future with the organization(I.E Tabata, Austin jackson, etc), not a journeyman reliever.

  • Geno

    Whatever. I’m proud to be a Yankee fan. If Hawkins establishes himself with clutch performances, he’ll be revered too. Would it be better to be like apathetic Dodger fans? We’re New Yorkers, dammit. All these PC modes of behavior at the ballpark are ridiculous. Sure, it’s a little over the top to boo a player for the number on their jersey, but so what? It’s misdirected NY passion, but it’s still NY passion, and I refuse to apologize for it.

    • Mike P

      I’m embarassed by what some Yankee fans boo people for. Booing people for not trying or caring is one thing, for being journeymen relievers is another. The argument also doesn’t stand as you almost always have journeymen relievers in the organisation, who also deserve to be Yankees.

      Booing is easy and unimaginative. Who said being a fan was easy? Not booing is not apathetic. Would you also agree with Yankee Stadium being empty if the team isn’t playoff calibre?

  • pounder

    Paul O’Neill epitomized the spirit and determination that the Yankees USED to stand for.The hand jiving and schucking and bumping going on today in that Yankee dugout is UNPROFESSIONAL.O’Neill was the heart and soul of those great Yankee teams,and if people can’t appreciate that,then they have very short memories,and should transfer their allegiance to the other part of town,where Kumbaya is a daily mantra.

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


      So being happy and enthusiastic and enjoying the game is unprofessional whereas throwing your hat, batting gloves and watercooler after an out is not? I loved O’Neill during his time in the Bronx, and I love him in the booth. But this is just a baseless claim.

      • zack

        Yeah, this is pretty much the worst argument I have ever seen. O’Neill is exactly the type of player that Yankees fans hate on other teams. He is Kevin Youkilis, bitching and whining and throwing temper tantrums whenever things don’t go his way.

        Freaking O’Neill himself said he was embarrassed about those outbursts and tried to stop doing them…

    • Mike P

      That’s not really the argument. Of course O’Neill is a hero. Doesn’t make the fans right to boo Hawkins.

  • whozat

    “If Hawkins establishes himself with clutch performances, he’ll be revered too.”

    The guy shouldn’t need to become a revered player before he’s worthy of not being booed on the FIRST DAY OF HIS YANKEE CAREER.

    There have been a wide variety of hall-of-the-very-good players on the Yankees over the years. Many were integral in a number of championship seasons. What makes Paul different than any of them? Nothing, except that he only retired seven years ago.

    • Geno

      Who am I to argue with the voice of the people?

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I’m fucking embarrassed to be a Yankees fan. I literally felt disgusting when I read the title of the thread because I knew what it would contain.

    I’m also embarrassed to have called Paul O’Neill my first ever favorite Yankees player (Mariano was my first but just because he was also from Panama, the reason I became a Yankees fan, LoL) because he damn sure knew what was going on and he didn’t step in. It’s obvious he found it pretty cool that not one person has worn his number in pinstripes since he retired but come on Paul, you really couldn’t have swallowed your pride to help ot a fellow Yankee?

    This is sad, I really feel disgusted about this whole thing.

    • Eric

      Don’t be a fan then. The Yankees will go on without your support

  • http://justinyates.wordpress.com Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    Anyone who thinks that booing a player on the Yankees who hasn’t been a constant disappointment like Kyle Farnsworth or Carl Pavano is a fucking idiot.

    • Pfistyunc

      No matter how many times I read that post, I still have no idea what you are trying to say. It’s time to play the “guess the missing word” sweepstakes!

    • http://justinyates.wordpress.com Yankee Psycho-fan-t

      Anyone who thinks its ok (there’s your missing word are you happy now?) to boo one of our players who hasn’t even had a chance to prove his worth this early in the season is a fucking idiot. Anyone who thinks that it’s wrong to wear the number 21 while it is still not retired and considers that justification to boo one of our players this early in the season is a fucking idiot. The number 21 does not equal Paul O’Neil. Yes, it was his number, but there have been plenty of players better than Paul O’Neil to wear that number that come to mind first. Like say, I don’t know a Hall of Famer/humanitarian and role model by the name of Roberto Clemente. Paul h iO’Neil was not and never will be the greatest player to wear that number and neither will LaTroy Hawkins. He will get zero sympathy from me getting booed for a bad performance, in fact, I don’t feel that bad for the guy for getting booed for wearing the number 21, he’s a baseball player who makes millions of dollars and what the hell does the number mean anyway?! Which is exactly my point. Who gives a flying fuck who wears what number LaTroy Hawkins wears? Why do you care enough to go through the effort of booing him consistently? It’s fucking stupid.

  • Jon

    I’m a little confused on how Hawkins is a joke of major league pitcher. Ever since he’s been put in the bullpen he’s been very solid.

  • r.w.g.

    This whole thing is a non-story. Who the hell cares if LaTroy Hawkins is getting booed? Don’t wear Paul O’Neill’s number then.

    I cannot get around all these people crying and moaning to show Hawkins some sympathy. Poor LaTroy getting booed. What a bunch of crap.

    Accept this reality: There are lots of Yankee fans who think Paul O’Neill deserves to have his number retired. Paulie played 9 seasons for NYY, had a .300 AVG wtih 185 HR and 858 RBIs. Reggie Jackson played 5 seasons for NYY and hit 144 HR with 461 RBIs. Reggie grabbed 2 rings with us, Paul doubled that.

    Paulie drove in at least 100 runs for NYY in 4 straight seasons, something Reggie Jackson NEVER DID ONCE IN HIS WHOLE 21 SEASON CAREER. In fact, if you look at career numbers, Jackson played 4 more seasons than Paulie and he’s only 400-something RBIs behind him. He’d be a lot closer if he decided to hang around for 2 more years knocking in 50-60 runs like Reggie did. Only 20 pts of SLG % separate the two men for their career (.470 for Paul, .490 for Reggie).

    Everybody knows why Reggie Jackson is in the Hall of Fame: 500 Home Runs. But for crying out loud, he hit 419 of them for teams not named NYY.

    I understand the Yankees need to “take a stand” when it comes to retiring of numbers, since single digit numbers and teen numbers are in perilously short supply.. but Paul O’Neill is NOT the Yankee to make this stand against.

    It was guys like Reggie, Guidry, Maris, and Rizzuto that muddled this situation, not Paul O’Neill.

    • Marsha

      That’s why Reggie Jackson should not have been allowed to go into the HOF as a Yankee. Reggie will always be an Oakland A and that should’ve been his HOF uniform.

  • Mike P

    That’s not really the argument. Of course O’Neill is a hero. Doesn’t make the fans right to boo Hawkins.

    • Mike P

      Sorry, wrong thread.

    • r.w.g.

      Look.. if he wants to honor Roberto Clemente, that’s great. Heckuva ballplayer and the pride of Puerto Rico. Who could hate Roberto Clemente?

      But number 21 doesn’t have a damn thing to with Roberto Clemente in the Bronx, so Hawkins can take that to another ballpark.

      Wear a patch, get a tattoo, write Clemente’s name in the snow. I don’t care. But some marginal journeyman using Paul O’Neill’s number and then trying to act like he doesn’t understand why it’s a big deal.. GTFO of here with that.

      • Eric

        Amen. Quite frankly I’m shocked at how much support Latroy Hawkins is getting. If all you Yankee fans are so shocked and appalled at Hawkins getting booed in early April, I wonder what you think of the pathetic fools who’ve booed the likes of Jeter, Mariano, and A-Rod?

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

          Eric: Stop calling other commenters names. Review our commenting guidelines and make your point without calling your fellow Yankee fans around here “pathetic fools.”

          • Eric

            I’m sorry, I thought it was just common sense that Yankee fans who boo Jeter and Mo are fools. People who did so are not my “fellow Yankee fans”

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

              Ah, my fault. I misread your first comment. Sorry.

              I agree with you. Folks booing A-Rod, Jeter, Mo, etc. are indeed pathetic. We’ve written a lot about the A-Rod booing fiasco from last season.

        • http://www.pinstripesplus.com ansky

          “some marginal journeyman using Paul O’Neil’s number”….

          give me a break. Paul O’Neil was a warrior, we’ve heard it all a million times before, hell i bought and still love my O’Neil jersey from years back but if you so called “fans” think that booing a “marginal journeyman” is going to help his pitching, you’re as dumb as you sound. And as long winded Eric put it “the number 1 priority Yanks fans care about is winning” then i’m sure this raining of boos will help not only the player but the team succeed. God knows our bullpen is sturdy as is.

          It creates a wonderful atmosphere for this guy to go out to the mound and want to win those games. This didnt start with his numbers on the mound, it came right out of the gate with the number on his back. Sure it could have continued with his pitching or lack thereof but don’t tell me the issue isn’t carried into the stadium by the “diehards” who think it a good idea to rip a player on OUR team.

          • r.w.g.

            I don’t care how well LaTroy Hawkins pitches. I don’t care if he bombs, blows out his elbow, or goes to join the circus.

            He’s replaceable. There are a half dozen guys in the minors who could come up and do his job right now. He’s a deadline deal throw-in or a potential draft pick.

            So no, I don’t care if the booing helps his pitching. It’s not supposed to. It’s supposed to make him change his number.

            • TomG

              That’s totally ridiculous. Booing the guy on the mound who’s trying to win games for the team you supposedly support because of the number on his back? If you want O’Neil’s number retired, great, write a letter to the front office, or start a petition or something. I’ll be the first to sign it. But please don’t do anything to distract the guy who’s trying to win games for my team.

            • http://www.pinstripesplus.com ansky

              well then you’re a class A fan. One we could definitely do without

        • Sciorsci

          I don’t think it’s about supporting Latroy Hawkins as much as it’s about opposing the idea of retiring O’Neill’s number, even unofficially. Part of the problem, as other commenters have mentioned, is that the Yankees have already retired too many numbers of players that are, in a way, similar in their contribution to the Yankees. Another part of the problem is that the Yankees waited too long to reissue #21, and now it almost feels somewhat retired to quite a few Yankees fans. The final part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the Yankees haven’t really won anything since O’Neill retired, so he’s held in higher reverence as a consequence.

          I loved O’Neill’s passion and I think that it’s been a missing element since he retired. I would have loved to see him back in the dugout in some sort of coaching capacity, as I felt that the Yanks, in recent years, were missing some fire and emotion. That said, it’s a ridiculous idea to retire his number. Save that for the all-time greats: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra.

  • Mike P

    I think he’s saying booing is most of the time wrong. I agree with that.

    • http://justinyates.wordpress.com Yankee Psycho-fan-t


  • Brother Mouzone

    i’m just pissed b/c i bought a those latroy hawkins #21 jersey…maybe if i wear it, it’ll be ironically joke

    /terrible joke off

    I will never understand the heat people are giving LaTroy Hawkins for having the “audacity” to wear a number that is not retired by the New York Yankees. If you think the number should be retired, I dunno, start writing letters to the Yankees or something. But booing the guy because you don’t think he is “worthy” of wearing #21 is immature at best, and a classless representation of Yankee fans at worst.

    • http://justinyates.wordpress.com Yankee Psycho-fan-t

      And who gives any of us the right to decide who is worthy of what?

  • Rob_in_CT

    This is so dumb. Paul O’Neill is one of my favorite players. I loved the fire & grit and all that. However, the number is not retired, and Hawkins only chose it b/c his prior number was unavailable, so he had to switch. He picked 21, ’cause he liked Clemente.

    And the guy gets booed during introductions. Now we have people justifying this by pointing to performance after the booing, which just doesn’t wash. The sole reason for the booing was the uniform number, and I’m disappointed that O’Neill didn’t speak out against it. Even if he wants his number retired, the right thing to do would be to say “hey, I hope the Yankees see fit to retire my number, but this isn’t right. This is just dumping on a guy the Yankees need to pitch well.” Anyway, the whole thing is embarrassing.

    As for his ability, Hawkins is a mediocre pitcher. He’s not terrible. He’s just sorta meh. Hawkins for 1 yr > Vizcaino for 3.

  • Tripp

    I just can’t believe how aggressive people are getting over a number. Good lord. These guys play baseball!

    I think someone said it here before, if the Yankees brass didn’t want someone to wear the number then they wouldn’t allow someone to wear it. Obviously, at this point they don’t care.

  • r.w.g.

    Hawkins knew how fans felt about the number 21, or was he completely oblivious as to why Morgan Ensberg was ditching the number? Does LaTroy live in a fucking bubble?

    Paul O’Neill should have his number retired. I don’t care if the Yankees are short on numbers — un-retire Jackson, Maris, and other borderline guys.

    Hawkins was made aware fans wanted him to switch his number. But he gets indignant, dug in his heels, and starts chastising us for raining on his Roberto Clemente Day Parade. Take that to San Juan or Pittsburgh.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Again, you are entitled to your opinion, and if you want the Yankees to unretire Maris, Jackson, and whoever else you deem “borderline”, pressure the decision makers – the New York Yankees front office. Write letters, start petitions, whatever. Don’t take it out on a guy who is wearing a jersey that is well within his rights to wear.

      Perhaps Hawkins does not live in a bubble, but rather expected Yankee fans to not act like petulant children whenever he appeared in games. Maybe he’s crazy, but it’s not for wearing the number, but for having that expectation.

      • r.w.g.

        The petitions and letters are good ideas and I am going to take you up on that and will write a letter.

        But I think a lot of Yankee fans were under the assumption that they wouldn’t need to start a petition to get Paul O’Neill’s number retired. I mean, if that guy doesn’t qualify for getting your number retired.. then you’ve got to pretty much un-retire everybody but Mantle, Berra, Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Ford, and maybe Dickey and Howard (Jeter and A-Rod obviously in the future). The fact that nobody had worn it since for 7 years after the guy retired.. it looked pretty good that it was happening.

        And so fans make it clear to Ensberg that they did not want anyone wearing that number, he gives it up. In swoops LaTroy “I Heart Roberto Clemente” Hawkins to take the number. I don’t care if he had to switch from his customary number.. he’s LaTroy Hawkins, why does he even have a customary number?

        He was made aware fans wanted him to change it, he was made aware of WHY they wanted him to change it, and he was made aware of how important Paul O’Neill is to Yankee fans and that they want to honor their warrior right fielder. He kept it anyway and brought Roberto Clemente into this discussion.

        Personally, I think it’s ridiculous Hawkins is being mentioned in the same sentences with Clemente and O’Neill.

        • Zack

          Um, remind again of how exactly O’Neil qualifies to HAVE his # retired? His career #s are unimpressive, his career #s as a Yankee are unimpressive, he spent half his career as a non-Yankee, he’ll never get a sniff of the HOF, and oh yeah, he’s not even the best Yankee to wear that freaking #, as Roy White played for longer as a Yankee with equal or better overall #s…

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

            Roy White wore number 6 for nearly his entire Yankee career. He had 21 for one season.

            • Zack

              Well, that wasn’t really my point. He still WORE it. Hell, how dare Joe Torre wear White’s #!

              Really, my point was that #s aren’t sacred, and the notion that as soon as a player retires it must be forever closed off in case they retire the # is absurd.

              But, yes, it was a bad analogy, I admit it…

              • Eric

                What exactly is your point? The Yankees are different than most professional teams in the amount of numbers retired, clearly to a fault. However, that is how they do things, so to say without a shadow of a doubt that O’Neill’s number should never be retired is ridiculous. And to say that he spent more than half his career on a different team as well as he won’t sniff the hall of fame are 2 more idiotic arguments, see: Reggie, and as much as Yankee fans love him, Don Mattingly has NO chance at the Hall. So, you can either favor unretiring all the numbers except for Hall of Fame career Yankees or you can understand why people can make an argument for O’Neill’s to be retired

          • r.w.g.

            Go back and read a post I made earlier in the comments. I comapred Reggie Jackson’s Yankee career with Paul O’Neill’s. I think I did a pretty decent job, so maybe if you find some holes in what I wrote, you can talk to me about that, instead of just saying Paul O’Neill put up unimpressive numbers. Which, by the way, I don’t believe is true. I don’t think 858 RBI in 9 seasons is unimpressive at all. Probably better than Jeter (without looking up the numbers).

    • rbizzler

      Maybe I missed it, but where was Hawkins chastising people for raining the hypothetical Roberto Clemente parade?

      He seemed more resigned to changing it because he knew he wouldn’t get a fair shake from the fans if he continued to wear it.

      Also, I see no reason for knocking him for honoring a good person/player such as Clemente. Save your venom for a more worthy target.

      For those of you who want #21 retired, here is a link for you:

      Be sure to click on the “support’ link as i am sure that you will be surprised at how many current and former Yankees want the number retired.

      Too bad it’s not because of Paulie…

  • Marsha

    Here’s an idea–unretire eveyone’s number but keep the plaques in Monument Park as the honor. This way the Yanks don’t run out of numbers and anyone can wear anyone else’s number without getting booed for it.

  • Eric

    Just out of curiousity, how would everyone feel if Hawkins, or anyone for that matter, took Bernie’s number? Technically it’s available and the Yankees have not designated it for retirement by any means yet…would anyone be upset or do you think his number is fair game? Bernie and O’Neill both played crucial roles back in the Yanks’ return to prominence, but neither is a Hall of Famer, which is a lot of people’s criteria for retiring a number. Wondering what people think on this subject matter…

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Let them take it, I don’t care. Nobody seemed to care when Donovan Osborne trotted out to the mound wearing number 46 in 2004.

      • Zack

        Excellent point, and Bernie Williams would deserve his # to be retired more than O’Neill does, at the very least.

        The notion that a # is sacred is silly. again, there are two freaking #8s retired…

      • Eric

        Pettitte left to pitch for another team, Bernie and O’Neill retired…completely different argument.

    • r.w.g.

      Bingo. Look.. from the 90s dynasty, there are a few candidates to have their number retired. Bernie Williams, Paulie, Posada, Jeter, Rivera. Pettitte probably just misses.

      I think all of them are better choices for retiring numbers than Reggie Jackson and Maris and Guidry. I know Reggie Jackson is a Hall of Famer, but he didn’t put up Hall of Fame numbers with the Yankees. He had one monster (1980) year and one terrible year (1981) and 3 years of Paul O’Neill numbers. Roger Maris essentially had 3 good years and one good but injury shortened one. The rest are totally forgettable.

      Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto have their numbers retired.. but Bobby Richardson doesn’t? Moose has 250 wins, which looks tons better with all the steroids everyone else was doing.. should he have his number retired? Pettitte’s career wins are probably similar to Gator’s and he’s got more rings — but I don’t know serious anyone is taking him as a retired number guy.

      Retiring your number with the Yankees isn’t about whether you’re a Hall of Famer caliber player/compiler (that’s a dig at Reggie Jackson, guys). It’s about greatness and championships and how important that player was in achieving that greatness and those championships on the teams they played on.

      If Reggie’s gonna be there, shouldn’t Nettles be too? That group of guys won two rings and choked away another, couldn’t get along at all, and the fall out left the Yankees a cruddy team with a few good years on Mattingly’s shoulders — they were some good teams but they don’t stack up to what came before or after. They screwed the pooch for the Front Office brass, not Paulie O’Neill, and if anybody needs to have their number status evaluated it’s those guys.

  • Will

    I liked it better when the words were missing.

  • mustang

    I agree, booing Hawkins for wearing number 21 is not the smartest thing. Also Hawkins should of know better then to put on 21 knowing what it means to some Yankees fans, Ensberg knew it. It’s just unnecessarily making yourself a target.
    However, signing Hawkins has to be one of the dumbest signings in Cashman’s tenure. Signing a 35 year older, journeyman , right-hander, national league reliever with a 9.00 ERA at the Stadium and 7.00 ERA at Fenway to 3.75 million. I don’t care if it was for a year it just doesn’t make any baseball or fiscal sense.

    • Greg G.

      How can you honestly claim that signing LaTroy Hawkins was one of Cashman’s dumbest signings when he’s only been on the team for 2 weeks.

      And besides, for Cashman’s dumbest signing, it’s a name that rhymes with Parl Cavano.

    • steve (different one)

      if a one year $3.75M contract is a GM’s dumbest signing, he would easily be the greatest GM in the history of the sport.

      • mustang

        I actually don’t blame Cashman for Carl Pavano. At time it seem like a good move and I don’t remember to many people being against it. But with Hawkins all the bad sign were there. I mean damn take a look at his stats. alone. What else do you need, I’m going to be a bust tattoo on his forehead.
        And I did say ONE OF HIS DUMBEST moves. Believe me Cashman has a lot more especially in the pitching department.

  • Bo

    It may have helped him if he pitched better at home.

  • RichYF

    This post reeks of immaturity. An odor that is “masked” with passion.

    “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” –Palahniuk

    Those that agree with my previous statements will probably understand what I am trying to say.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i cant believe how many idiots there are out there (i know, how naive of me).

    these are the same idiots who booed Arod and continue to say things like: ‘sure, he went 4-5, but he k’ed in his last ab’.

    but it’s even worse with Hawkins, who got booed before ever throwing a damn pitch. please people, #21 is not retired. maybe it will be one day but Hawkins has every right to wear it (he’s honoring a HOF ballplayer).

    boo the opposition, dont boo your own players (unless they show a lack of effort – the only time i condone it). we want our players to succeed, and yet they get booed before ever having a chance.

    what does this say to the other Yankee or potential Yankees? who the hell would ever wanna deal with this shit?

    • r.w.g.

      “who the hell would ever wanna deal with this shit?”

      Guys who want to win rings and don’t have a problem with not wearing Paul O’Neill’s number?

      • http://www.pinstripesplus.com ansky

        you’re easily the most irrational fan i’ve ever encountered. What a joke. Every post you’ve vomited on this thread is speculative numbers backed with your verbal dribble. Its excruciating to read let alone think about. To imagine you’re on the Yanks “side” and not a rival fan is bewildering.

        • r.w.g.

          I don’t feel I’m irrational at all. I’m sure you and I agree on lots of things Yankee related. But I also feel that I am correct on this issue.

          I haven’t slandered Hawkin’s name, I haven’t made personal attacks that extend beyond baseball issues.

          He wants to honor Clemente, that’s totally cool. Like I said earlier, wear a patch or an armband. Maybe we can trade LaTroy to Pittsburgh at the deadline.

          Hawkin’s is a 35 year old borderline scrub. He’s so replaceable it’s not even funny. He ruined a season for the Cubs and had a huge hand in Yankee dominance over Minnesota in years past.

          He can enjoy #22.

        • r.w.g.

          Also, “speculative numbers” is not a very honest statement from you.

          All career statistics I listed for O’Neill and Jackson are from http://www.baseball-reference.com.

          If you think the numbers are “speculative”, your beef is with them.

          Just to put Paul O’Neill into perspective for you, asnky, during his time with the Yankees (9 seasons) he hit the same number of homers and drove in 114 less runs than Chris Chambliss did in his 17 year career.

          Speculative, my ass. It’s O’Neill’s number, Hawkin’s can take a walk.

          • http://www.pinstripesplus.com ansky

            i actually only put that in there because i wanted to see you say more. It warms my heart.

            • r.w.g.

              “i actually only put that in there because i wanted to see you say more. It warms my heart.”

              Your one-liners aren’t as good as mine, don’t feed the beast.

        • Sciorsci

          He’s obviously part of the Class of ’96.

          Hey r.w.g., you do know the Yankees had plenty of great ballplayers prior to Paulie O, don’t you? Heck, if you’re going to retire O’Neill’s number, better retire Winfield, Henderson, Pasqua, Pagliarulo, Nokes, Murcer, White – heck, let’s retire Kevin Maas’ number and Andy Stankiewicz’s number, too. They were fan favorites.

      • Brother Mouzone

        “who the hell would ever wanna deal with this shit?”

        “Guys who want to win rings and don’t have a problem with not wearing Paul O’Neill’s number?”

        Out of curiosity, why should honoring Clemente, an ambassador for the game who died tragically before his time, take a backseat to not “dishonoring” Paul O’Neill? I put dishonoring in quotes because I don’t equate wearing his jersey number to be on the same level as burning a dummy wearing a pinstriped #21 jersey in effigy before urinating on the ashes, as some people seemingly equate Hawkins’ “offense” to.

        I understand it is your opinion that Paul O’Neill should have his number retired by the Yankees. However, the Yankees don’t seem to feel that way. Until he is bestowed that honor, I don’t think it is the fans’ responsibility to makeshiftly “honor” him (by booing a player on their own team). Like I said, if you want the # retired, be proactive, don’t chastise Latroy Hawkins for not being careful around your sensibilites.

        Also, IMO, the following jerseys from the dynasty era should be retired: Derek, Mariano, Bernie. Jorge’s got an outside shot. Career Yankees with HOF or near HOF credentials. And I understand your arguments re: Maris and Jackson, but if you think it was a mistake to retire those numbers, why make the same mistake now?

        • r.w.g.

          Bernie’s big advantage on Paulie is that he spent his entire career with the Yankees, he was a switch-hitter, and played a more difficult defensive position (CF over RF).

          Other than that, their career numbers are VERY similar. I mean, we’re talking 9 points of career batting average and less than 10 home runs. Career highs for guys were 28 homers for Paulie, 30 for Bernie. 117 RBIs for Paulie — 121 for Bernie. Don’t you think that if Paulie had held on to drive in 60 rbis for another 3 years like Bernie did the numbers would swing in Paulie’s favor?

          Bernie started being a player who helped us win games right about when Paulie arrived. To separate the two from that late 90s success is not really something I could ever get behind.

          I’m not saying that O’Neill should have his number retired because Jackson, Maris, etc have their numbers retired. I’m saying Paulie has legitimately earned the honor and he deserves entirely on his merit as a Yankee. He was absolutely integral in what we were doing for a decade and his best seven consecutive year period with the Yanks is pretty similar to Bernie’s best 7.

          For me, it’s Maris and Jackson and guys like this who need to be re-evaluated. The whole system needs to be re-evaluated because Paul O’Neill is not the guy to make this stand on. He fucking earned it every day.

          • Mike P

            “Bernie’s big advantage on Paulie is that he spent his entire career with the Yankees, he was a switch-hitter, and played a more difficult defensive position (CF over RF).”

            Love Paul O’Neill, not commenting on whether 21 should be retired. But the numbers you quote make all the difference. Bernie was a class act and apart from Griffey, the best in baseball at a premium position. Bernie Baseball’s number should be retired.

            • r.w.g.

              I agree absolutely that Bernie should have 51 retired. I was just pointing out that career wise, in terms of home runs, RBIs, walks, AVG, SLG, strikeouts.. they are very, very close to each other. I believe Bernie was a better player, but I don’t think the gap is so large that O’Neill misses the cut.

              They were our two best hitters year in and year out. I believe both of them are deserve to have their number retired.

              Based on what he did as a Yankee, I just think Paul O’Neill makes the cut. Almost 200 homers and 900 RBI in 9 seasons. And it’s not like he was a slouch in Cincinnati either. He’s got the same number of rings as Reggie right?

              I don’t like that people want to tow the line with O’Neill when the real solution is to put 9, 44, 49, and maybe one or two others back in circulation. Reggie Jackson was Gary Sheffield except it worked. If there was some huge clamoring of fans demanding that Hank Bauer have his number retired, I could see where people were coming from. But Paul O’Neill deserves it 100% and I don’t know how anyone who watched those teams play could feel any different.

  • RustyJohn

    Can we get over this “Paul O’Neil was a warrior” or “Paul O’Neil was a hero” crap? The guy played baseball for christsake and he was above average, big deal. He didn’t map the human fucking genome, land on the moon, jump into an icy river to save airplane passengers or take out a machine gun nest by rolling into it with a bomb strapped to him ala’ Steve McQueen in Hell is for Heros. He played baseball and got paid ridiculous amounts of money to act like a child and break stuff whenever an umpire made a call he didn’t like.

    Here’s a solution to the problem- don’t retire anyone’s numbers- unretire all of them- because in another 30 years, they’re going to be having guys wear triple digits due to the adsurdity of retiring every marginally better than average player.

    • Mike P

      Sorry, from a Yankee fan, that’s just blasphemy. Mapping the human genome is irrelevant when talking about baseball. Babe Ruth didn’t solve world poverty either.

      • RustyJohn

        Babe Ruth might not have ended world poverty (with his appetite he may have contributed to it) and if Luis Sojo wore his number I could care less. I’m not going to lose sleep over who wore what number when. It is a number. It is meaningless. It is called perspective.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos


    Why must people constantly be stupid!

    Okay. Let me take a second and review this.

    1) If any of the people who boo Hawkins or criticize him here for choosing Paulie’s number think it’s wrong, don’t be mad at Hawkins. Be mad at the Yankees. This is such a moot point. If the number shouldn’t be issued, retire it. If it should be issued, then issue it and shut up already. It doesn’t matter if it’s Hawkins, Ensberg, Bill Clinton or Jesus Christ: until 21 is retired, we have no reason to complain about anyone wearing it. I happen to think it should be retired; many don’t. I see the logic of those who oppose me. But either way, I would never boo anyone for wearing a number.

    Let me give you a hypothetical… suppose C.C. Sabathia tells Hal and Hank this offseason that he’s trying to decide between the Yanks and the Sox, and the tiebreaker is he really wants to wear #21 to honor his boyhood hero, Deion Sanders.. What should we do? Not sign him? Or boo him when he takes the mound?

    2) Where is booing in the Bill of Rights? I’ve detested a great number of the players who played for my teams (like Kyle “Sandwich Pick” Farnsworth), but never once felt the emotional, social, biological, or sensorimotor need to boo him, before, during, or after his apperances. And, unlike the Hawkins scenario, I may even have good reason to boo Farnsworth, because he’s not worth a single hot dog. But what the#$@&is the point of booing?


    I just don’t get it. Sorry. It makes you feel good? So does cocaine and sex, but people don’t walk around doing those things on the street. Really, what the hell are you accomplishing, other than showing disdain for someone who is working to try and help the team you love win? Gee, thanks. Throw some batteries while you’re at it.

    We’re really booing a man for wearing a number? What are we, Philly? Are we going to boo Santa Claus next? Are we going to boo the draft selection of a future Hall-of-Famer because he’s not the pot-smoking, dress-wearing lunatic that we misguidedly thought we wanted? Are we going to boo little girls singing the national anthem?

    • RustyJohn

      Um, I’ve ben down streets where having sex and doing cocaine were pretty commonplace.

      • r.w.g.

        With a name like that, I don’t find that too surprising.

        • Captain Wiley

          Great stuff today r.w.g…..I’ve been laughing my ass off through this whole thread. I agree 100% with your stance. Hawkins knew (Ensburg) what he was getting into and shouldnt be the least bit surprised by the fan backlash.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos
  • RustyJohn


  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    On another point (and please feel free to move this to a different thread if so appropriate), I was watching the Jackie Robinson day jersey numbers, which is awesome, but I think it should be expanded… how about the Dodgers all wearing 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, and all the other teams wearing the numbers of the players who integrated their respective teams? The Indians could all wear Larry Doby’s #14, the Yanks could all wear Elston Howard’s #32, the Cubs could all wear Ernie Banks’s #14, etc. It would add to the impact of the day, and allow all the teams to honor one of their own (without diluting the impact of Jackie Robinson day by having all those honors on different days throughout the year.)

    It would only work for the pre-expansion era teams, but it would be nice. Perhaps just for 2009, as it’s the 50th anniversary of the entire ML being integrated (when the Red Sox finally played Pumpsie Green in 1959)…


    • http://www.myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      I like that idea. I’m not even going to touch this whole number situation because it just makes me mad. Number 3 was worn after the Babe and if his number wasn’t immediately retired who is O’Neill? Times like these I feel like the things people say about Yankees fans are justified. It makes me sick.

  • RustyJohn

    Yes, for those of you on this blog who are under the age of 20, there was a time when that described the majority of NYC- now the city is run by anti-smoking Nazis. When transfats are the city’s biggest problem, there aren’t many big problems.

  • r.w.g.

    If Jim Thome died in a plane crash tomorrow while delivering blankets and food to poor people, can we retire his number across every single major league team?

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/11036-Ryan_Barry barry

    Get over it

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