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New York Yankees president Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman faced the wrath of fans at Yankee Stadium when the organization retired Paul O’Neill’s number on Sunday.
The Yankees entered the final game of a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays looking to win their 10th game in the last 30. As Steinbrenner and Cashman stepped onto the field for the ceremony, both executives encountered notable mishaps.
New York was 4-14 in August before beating the Blue Jays to prevent a sweep, but the message from Yankees fans to the top brass was sent loud and clear.
The 40-minute ceremony saw some of O’Neill’s former teammates take the field. Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and Andy Pettitte were among those present, according to the New York Post. O’Neill was not allowed to interact with any of the current Yankees players because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
He hit .303 with 185 home runs and 858 RBI with the Yankees from 1993 to 2001. He was a four-time All-Star and won four World Series titles. His No. 21 will now reside in Monument Park.
“That’s why I’m celebrating this day, because this is the biggest dream I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.
O’Neill has called games on the Yes Network from his Ohio home since the pandemic-hit 2020 season. Asked by NJ.com about his vaccination status, he said he would “prefer not to discuss that.”
Only LaTroy Hawkins wore number 21 for the Yankees since O’Neill retired. Hawkins wore it at points in 2008 before changing it shortly after the season began.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.