Open Thread: The Paul O’Neill (Almost) Comeback Story


(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch this afternoon’s game on YES, Paul O’Neill told a rather interesting story in the top of the fourth inning. The Yankees, remember, went with a Shane Spencer-John Vander Wal platoon in right field to start the 2002 season after O’Neill retired, but in early-June they called up a then 23-year-old Juan Rivera (.324/.359/.500 in Triple-A) to take over the position full-time. Unfortunately Rivera crashed into a golf cart and tore up his knee a few days later, sidelining him for the next three months.

O’Neill said during today’s broadcast that after Rivera’s injury, he got a call from Joe Torre asking him about possibly coming back. So O’Neill, who was on vacation with his family at the time, starting working out and throwing and what not with his goal to join the team at midseason. Before he was ready and committed to the return though, the Yankees went out and traded for Raul Mondesi, putting an end to the comeback. Could you imagine that? That sure would have been neat.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Mets are playing the Cubs (Gee vs. Coleman) and the Reds and Phillies (Wood vs. Halladay) will be on ESPN2, plus you’ve also got the NHL playoffs on Versus and the NBA playoffs on regular old ESPN. Talk about whatever you want here, so go nuts.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. It’s an interesting story, but you know what?

    Those Game Five “Paul O’Neill” chants are one of the most bone-chilling awesome sendoffs, ever, and I’m okay with that.

  2. Craig says:

    Does anyone know the Yankees AB songs? Gracias and thanks.

  3. CMP says:

    I’m glad he didn’t because his last couple of years, he really dropped off and it would have been hard to see him struggle.

  4. Griffey's Grotequely Swollen Jaw says:

    would it have been better than this?

    safe for work, not safe for life.

  5. The Yankees will acquire Carlos Beltran at the deadline (or earlier, depending on how the Mets and their shenanigans go from here on out). Would you like that move?

    I would love that, he could be the regular DH and could spell Swisher or Gardner every once in a while.

  6. Betances is tearing through the R-Phils right now.

    2IP 1H 2ER 1BB ***5K***

  7. Daveinmd says:

    Hmmm. Maybe this could work for a guy named Pettitte.

  8. Uncle Mike says:

    I don’t care how old he was, I’d still rather have Paul O’Neill than Raul Mondesi.

    • tom says:

      Seconded. Mondesi just felt like a bad move from the moment he got here.

      • CP says:

        Olney (I think) tells a story that the Yankees acquired Mondesi because Steinbrenner was watching a game and Mondesi played well against them. McCarver made a comment on air about how he would be a great addition fit for the Yankees, and thus George got it stuck in his head that the Yankees needed Mondesi and they got him.

        Boy, I miss having George around.

  9. Pat D says:

    I seem to remember this being talked about on the time. I think even ESPN had a blurb on it, and I seem to recall a quote from The Boss himself saying that he would have welcomed O’Neill’s return.

    But I’m sure he signed off on the Mondesi trade, so…

    • Jorell says:

      Yeah, I remember people talking about O’Neill’s possible return that year, but I had no idea how serious it was. It seemed like a worst case scenario for the Yanks. Right Field was a mess for a few years there, but I’m glad O’Neill stayed retired in the end.

    • steve (different one) says:

      He didn’t sign off on the trade, he made the trade.

  10. Accent Shallow says:

    Has Soriano had one TJ surgery already, or two?

  11. mike c says:

    I wonder if #46 is staying in shape…

  12. Raul Mondesi was the only man great enough to put the final nail in the coffin of Paul O’Neill’s career.

    The legend grows.

  13. Craig says:

    Where does Jose Reyes wind up post July 31st?

  14. jim p says:

    I’m not getting cable this year. Has Kay been keeping the fans up to date, through entire innings, on whether and what Paul is eating, does he still like deserts, etc.

  15. Karl Krawfid says:

    Betances. 16 hitters faced. 8 k’s. 4 innings. The best thing? 1 walk.

  16. CBean says:

    The odd part about a day game during the week is that I don’t know what to watch now when there’s no Yankee game. But I spent the afternoon in the ballpark watching stress free baseball instead of being at work. There is no bad.

  17. James says: Tino Martinez ’98 Game 1 Grand Slam.

    Two things : I’m 65% certain that Joe Girardi was in the dugout begging Joe Torre to have him bunt. (jk)

    how about the “thigh-high middle of the plate that was somehow ball three”, ball three, Which Tino took.

  18. Matt Montero says:

    Anyone heard of or like B.A. Vollmuth (SS/3b at SMU)? Before later in this season he played purely SS but later moved to (I’m not if it’s a tired thing or he can’t handle it but he looks big in the linked video). As far as offense, the guy seems to flat out hit and would be a great hitting SS and even a good offensive 3b. On the defensive side, I haven’t found much but BA has him ranked 63 and I’ve seen him ranked as high as 36 (but I don’t remember where). Here’s some info (the little I can find on him).

    B.A. Vollmuth is a guy who jumps out for the bat speed, compact stroke, hip rotation, head down, firm front, hard contact…need I say more, I liked him. Watch for yourself and decide. I wish I could have seen him play a little more than I did, but thanks to some very hard work, we were able to get this BP round on film. Take it away, B.A. I pity the fool who thinks you can’t hit. (with a video inside of him hitting). (a nice profile/interview)

    For some reason I can’t even find a video of him fielding.

  19. Karl Krawfid says:

    10 k’s now for Mr. Betances. 6 innings.

  20. JamesM says:

    How many players does Gitardi trust except Jeter and A-Rod? Not many. Beltran would be another band-aid filler.

  21. JamesM says:

    How many players does Gitardi trust except Jeter and A-Rod? Not many. Beltran would be another band-aid filler.

    • A-Rod's Wingman says:

      The point of a band-aid is to stop the bleeding and give the wound time to heal. Right now the team isn’t getting much out of RF. They gotta give Granderson some time eventually, and Beltran would be a great fit on the bench to play RF and allow them to give Gardner and Granderson a day if and when they need it. The DH situation has improved, but there’s the chance that Posada gets hurt or goes back off the cliff.

      He’s not meant to be a longterm solution, he’s a rental. One that will cost a lot of money, but hopefully not a lot in talent. They’re looking for another bat to help carry them to the playoffs and hopefully to their 28th World Championship. He’s a higher profile guy than the usual suspects that they’d bring in to do that, but that’d be his role nonetheless.

      It’s early but this is the way I’d see the roster shaping up headed towards the playoffs:

      SP: Sabathia, Burnett, Colon (hopefully), and two other guys…right now it’s Nova and Garcia but I don’t really have a whole lot of faith in those two.

      RP: Rivera, Chamberlain, Robertson, Logan, Noesi, probably another middle reliever, maybe a lefty reliever from a team that’s already tanked. Glen Perkins seems like a half way decent target. Possibly another dude.

      CA: Martin
      1B: Teixeira
      2B: Cano
      3B: Rodriguez
      SS: Jeter
      LF: Gardner
      CF: Granderson
      RF: Beltran
      DH: Posada

      Bench: Jones, Swisher, Nuñez, and Cervelli.

      Pretty solid team, given Cano’s disappointing season and Jeter’s struggles perhaps another MINF would be called for instead of an outfielder. But, you gotta take help where you can get it from.

      • The BIG 3 says:

        I’m not a Swisher fanboy; furthest thing from it actually, as i don’t particularly like his game. But he is going to hit .850 this year, and in order to do so he will hit in the vicinity of .900 from here on out. That’s your acquisition right there. Beltran is not only not moving across NY boroughs, but he’s also redundant on this team.

        In a word, his acquisition is kind of a dumb pipedream.

        • A-Rod's Wingman says:

          Not really, he’s expensive and offered his services to the Yankees for less. The Yankees have a right fielder and a DH underperforming. I don’t see why it’s a dumb pipedream. I think he’ll rebound too, but Swisher’s a pretty streaky guy and even in 2008 he hit 20 jacks and he’s not really hitting for power now. So I can easily see him in a season long slump.

  22. A-Rod's Wingman says:

    Good win today. If Sweaty Freddy is a six inning pitcher from here on out, I am absolutely fine with that. I still feel with an AL league average ERA slightly under four, they’re probably going to need to do better than Sweaty Freddy as the four. He’s doing a great job, but I don’t think it’s going to last. If he gives them a 4ish ERA and six-ish innings a start until July I think he can successfully waive the mission accomplished banner…but they gotta do better than him as their four.

    • Steve H says:

      A 4′ish ERA and 6-ish innings a start is the definition of Freddy’s 2010. He was among the league leaders in quality start % last year. If he repeats 2010 from here on out the Yankees will win a lot of games he starts.

      • mbonzo says:

        He’s actually looked a lot better than that though. I agree with you, that the Yanks would love a guy that could just produce quality starts, but he’s been beyond that. Hitters have just looked embarrassing against his stuff, and the longer this lasts the more surprised I am. His xFIP is gonna catch up to him, but even that is significantly better than last year.

        • Steve H says:

          Yeah, he’s definitely been better in 2011 than 2010. I’d be happy with the 2010 version. His FIP is very similar as while he’s striking out more guys, he’s also walking more. If he can keep the K/9 range where it is and cut back a little on the walks, he can have a very solid season.

      • A-Rod's Wingman says:

        I think the league RA conditions are different this year than last year.

        • Steve H says:

          Which should mean Freddy should perform even better this year.

          • A-Rod's Wingman says:

            Perhaps, but he’s got an 86 LOB%, a 4.78 FIP and a 4.12 xFIP. the league ERA is 3.99 or there abouts, if he pitches to his xFIP or god forbid his FIP he’ll get crushed. He’s a junkballer if he can provide three or four months of good pitching he’s a smashing success. I can’t imagine how anyone could expect anymore than that out of him.

  23. Reggie C. says:

    K-rod willing to waive his 2012 VESTING OPTION if it makes a trade easier to complete – rotoworld.

    … Levine’s mouth watered at reading this.

  24. Bob Stone says:

    Roberto Kelly traded for Paul O’Neil – one of the best trades the Yankees have ever made.

  25. Claudell says:

    Love Pauly O. The best part of that story is that you know he started working out not because he wanted the glory of playing again, but because his teammates needed him. A+ guy.

  26. bonestock94 says:

    Anyone watching reds-phillies? In the 19th, Wilson Valdez pitching lol. Trying to stay awake.

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