It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Paul O’Neill made his debut in the Bronx, and what a debut it was. The Warrior went 4-4 at the plate with a double, a triple, a run scored and two RBI as the Yanks beat the Kansas City Royals, and eventual teammate David Cone, 4-1.
The Ohio native was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds on November 3, 1992 for outfielder Roberto Kelly after eight seasons, one All Star Game and a World Series title with Cinci. He finished his first year in the Bronx hitting a cool .311 with 20 homers and 75 RBI over 141 games. He would be a staple in the lineup for the rest of his career which included: four All Star Games, four World Series championships and an AL Batting Title.
The heart and soul of the 1990’s dynasty, The Boss hit the nail right on the head when he labeled O’Neill The Warrior. He took his place among the other immortals with a plaque in Monument Park on August 9, 2014, and his number 21 has only been worn once (briefly) since his retirement in 2001. Whether making a spectacular play in the field, giving an Emmy Award caliber performance on Seinfeld, or abusing poor innocent water coolers, The Warrior made an impact on all of us and it all started 25 years ago today.