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(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

A Warrior in the dugout

(AP/Duane Burleson)

After 12 years away from the game, Paul O’Neill wants to return – as a manager. With Dusty Baker out as Reds skipper, O’Neill has thrown his name into the mix of potential replacements.

In an interview with ESPN New York, O’Neill said “I would love to sit down and find out what their thoughts are. There are basically two organizations in my life, the Reds and the Yankees. Anytime you live in the city, you understand and see what happens in an organization.”

While O’Neill hasn’t yet interviewed for the job, he said he’sĀ  spoken to Reds owner Bob Castellini over the years about assuming a role with the organization. Yesterday, Michael Kay reported on his radio show that Castellini reached out to O’Neill about the possibility of managing.

O’Neill, 50, was drafted in the fourth round by the Reds in 1981. The Columbus, OH native made his major league debut with Cincinnati on September 3, 1985. He would play eight years there, winning the World Series in 1990 and being named an All-Star in 1991. He was traded to the Yankees before the 1993 season where he would go on to win the batting title in ’94, and then four World Championships.

He represented what the Yankees were all about in the mid-to-late nineties. He battled in each at-bat, played through pain and exhibited unmatched intensity on the field. His tirades in the dugout and on the field against umpires instantly made him a beloved figure in New York. After his retirement in 2001, O’Neill joined the YES Network as a game analyst. He still lives in Cincinnati with his family.