What Paul said

How much is that baseball team in the window?
Game 17: The New Schilling

At the risk of inciting a numbers-based riot, I direct your attention to Tyler Kepner’s latest notebook in The Times with a quote from Number 21 himself:

“I’ve always been blown away by the way the fans have treated me there,” O’Neill said in a telephone interview. “I have absolutely nothing against LaTroy Hawkins, but it’s unbelievable what the fans have done. It makes you feel good as a player, obviously, because that tells you they appreciate what we did as a team.”

To me, it sounds like Paul would love to see his number retired. That is a rather pregnant “but” after the LaTroy Hawkins mention. Either way, perhaps we should put this story to rest for now.

How much is that baseball team in the window?
Game 17: The New Schilling
  • steve (different one)

    Either way, perhaps we should put this story to rest for now.

    somehow i don’t think posting this quote was the best way to do this ;)

    O’Neill comes across badly here. that’s just my opinion though.

    the fans booed a yankee player on opening day and he called it “unbelievable”. really?

  • http://www.joba.com joba

    i agree, hawkins and farnsworth are now lock down set up men

  • Curramba

    Sounds to me like he appreciates the fact that the fans still love him and not like someone who cares about a number being retired.

  • matt K

    The only thing in consideration when it comes to retiring a number should be the players individual accomplisments. If that team did not win 4 out of 5 world series we would not even be considering this. He hit .288 in his carrer and had 281 homers. We all love the guy but his number certainly should not be retired.

  • r.w.g.

    Honestly.. if they would saved 21 for A-Jax it probably would have never come up. I believe he deserves it to be retired (as I’ve said a lot the past two days), but if it wasn’t going to be retired (and leaving it unused for 7 seasons was definitely a mixed signal) I think there is some validity to saving it for someone who could be a fixture for the team instead of a couple of one and dones (Ensberg, Hawkins).

  • Number 27

    i agree more with nomaas guys. you would think that paul, although thankful for the support of the fans, might have said something a little more supportive of hawkins, who got shat on because of that ‘appreciation’.

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

      I also agree with NoMass but more on the level of calling out Paul on this classless comment.

  • Rastven

    Paulie could have done the right thing here but he didn’t. It’s a shame really.

  • Dave P.

    I don’t buy that was all Paul said. It’s not beyond a reporter to take pull things away from a quote. He might have said something defending Hawkins, but it was taken out. Who knows? Who cares? Did anyone boo when Bobby Meachem took Bucky Dent’s number in 1983?

  • matt K

    Where does it stop. Basicly if Pauls number is retired then so will.. Jeter, MO(will be no matter wat), Tino, Jorge, Bernie, Andy. I mean we will run out of numbers soon. eventualy in say 25 years they might have to start over.

    • Dave P.

      Now pitching for the Yankees……Number three-hundred and twenty-seven….Andrew Brackman……Number three-hundred and twenty-seven.

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

    Just tossing something out there:

    Cliff Mapes
    Frank Colman
    Allie Clark
    Eddie Bockman
    Bud Metheny
    Roy Weatherly
    Bud Metheny
    George Selkirk

    Do you think any of these people got booed for wearing number 3 after Babe Ruth? I doubt it.

    • r.w.g.

      Was having your number retired a big deal back then? Or was it players like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio that performed so well that retiring numbers was the thing to do?

      I mean.. I know Selkirk played right field, so I mean, 3 was probably just the ‘good hitting outfielder’ number. Like how Fernando Torres wears number 9 for Liverpool because it’s the striker number. If everybody wants to go back to that, I’m all for it.

      My whole thing is, it’s sad that a guy like Paul O’Neill is picked as the “tow the line” guy. Because going on his strictly Yankee numbers and the role he played on that team (anybody think we could have just plugged Luis Gonzalez into right field and the outcome would have been similar?) and the fact that he was at his peak for 6 straight years when the Yankees were the best team in baseball. He was a major reason for it.

      • Brother Mouzone

        While I loved watching Paul O’Neill, I just don’t see how he is the slam dunk you seem to think he is. O’Neill, from a corner OF position, put up the following OPS+ in the WS years

        1996 – 123
        1998 – 130
        1999 – 107
        2000 – 092

        O’Neill hit 137 in 95 and 97.

        You compared him to Bernie Williams, who played CF, a much more valuable position. here’s how he reads

        1996 – 131
        1998 – 160
        1999 – 149
        2000 – 140

        Bernie didn’t dip down around to the low 100s until 2003 and 2004. In his prime, Bernie was a beast in CF.

        My point: Paul wasn’t in Bernie’s league offensively. and he played RF.

        Let’s look at Tino:

        1996 – 108
        1998 – 124
        1999 – 104
        2000 – 082

        Tino was pretty much league average when you average out the championship years, and probably below average offensively relative to 1b. I don’t think Tino should be in the discussion anymore than Scott Brosius should, and, that said, Tino is a closer comparison for O’Neill than Bernie.

        Paul O’Neill was a solid player who NYers love b/c his demonstrative nature made it obvious he cared, he played hard and seemed to maximize his abilities as a player through the effort he showed on the field. That earned him the respect of fans, but I don’t think it earns him the honor of having his number retired.

        Also, comparing him to Roger Maris, who won back to back MVP awards upon arriving in NY and broke the sports most hallowed record while in uniform here, is disingenuous, at best.

        • r.w.g.

          Apart from three terrific seasons, Maris performed at a level that was pretty in line with O’Neill’s lesser seasons.

          If his 3 year stretch hitting in front of Mickey Mantle, greatest record in baseball aside, is good enough to get Maris retired, then I think Paul O’Neill, with his stretch of 6 great seasons (I’m leaving out the year he hit .359 for us b/c he only knocked in 83 runs.. on a team in transition) warrants it as well.

          Look.. I personally don’t like OPS+. A run is a run, a hit is a hit, and RBIs are what they are. A lot of different ballplayers played in a lot of different parks. That’s baseball. Your numbers are your numbers.

          I can maybe budge on Maris. He came in and was just what we needed. He still holds the greatest record in sports history. Apart from the record he sounds a whole lot like Paul O’Neill.. and Paul O’Neill had more sustained productivity (their career slugging and batting averages and home run totals are pretty close, by the way).

          I guess fact is Paul O’Neill is probably just a tow the line guy. He’s Charlie Keller.

          It’s just sad when a guy like Reggie Jackson can come in for 5 years, have some good years and get his number retired all because of one game and candy bar. And Paul O’Neill almost averages 100 rbi for us for a decade, gets 4 rings, totally changes the losing stink culture that Danny Tartabull and George Steinbrenner put all over it, and gets told he wasn’t actually one of the single most important pieces in the greatest Yankee teams since the 50s.

          • Dave P.

            Just to point out. The year he it .359 and knocked in only 83 runs was in 1994, the year of the strike….So add 50 games to that total. I’d still include it.

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

    If it’s gonna be worn, let it be worn by someone who’s going to be around for a long time, and who’s going to contribute to a championship. Paul O’Neill is one of my lifetime favorites; no doubt about it, and I don’t think we win those 4 rings without him.