The New York Yankees announced on Tuesday that they intend to retire Paul O'Neill's No. 21 jersey on Sunday, August 21. The Yankees are scheduled to play the Toronto Blue Jays that afternoon -- provided, of course, Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout is resolved by then.
O'Neill will become the 23rd player in franchise history to have his number retired by the Yankees. He'll be the first since Derek Jeter's No. 2 was enshrined at the team's Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.
O'Neill spent nine of his 17 big-league seasons in New York after he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in a trade for Roberto Kelly. He hit .303/.377/.492 (125 OPS+) with 185 home runs in New York, raising his career slash line to .288/.363/.470 and his home run total to 281. O'Neill's contributions during his career were worth an estimated 38.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. Nearly 27 of those wins were earned during his days with the Yankees.
O'Neill discussed the honor with reporters on Wednesday.
O'Neill made five All-Star Games and won the 1994 batting title. He also won five World Series titles, with four of those coming in pinstripes. (The fifth, his first, came as part of the 1990 Reds.) O'Neill almost went out as a champion, as he retired following the Yankees' 2001 World Series defeat at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The loss was none his fault, as he went 5 for 15 in the series.
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It's worth noting that O'Neill has already been honored by the Yankees before: he received a plaque in Monument Park back in 2014. He'll join a handful of former teammates in having his number removed from circulation, including the aforementioned Jeter, Don Mattingly, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, and manager Joe Torre.
Since retiring from the game, O'Neill has served as a television analyst with the YES Network.