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New York Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman faced the wrath of fans at Yankee Stadium as 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 faced noticeable boos.
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New York was 4-14 in August before beating the Blue Jays to stave off 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 in attendance, 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.
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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 a won four World Series titles. His No. 21 will now live in Monument Park.
“That’s why I’m celebrating this day, because this is the biggest dream that 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-impacted season in 2020. When asked by NJ.com about his vaccination status, he said he’d “rather not discuss that.”
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Only LaTroy Hawkins wore the No. 21 for the Yankees since O’Neill retired. Hawkins wore it at points in 2008 before switched it shortly after the season started.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.