Paul O’Neill tells a shocking baseball secret

Yankees great Paul O'Neill is taking a selfie with Aaron Judge

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The Yankees retired No. 21 on August 21 last year to honor Paul O’Neill. The Warrior galvanized the Yankees during his nine seasons in the Bronx and played a key role in their four World Series wins. However, Paul O’Neill once came close to giving up baseball and it was his coach who then intervened to keep him on the team.

Paul O’Neill recently talked to YES Network about his baseball career prior to his drafting and disclosed many things that he had never talked about before. He told a surprising story about how he was almost done with baseball for good. The former Yankee said that he almost stopped playing baseball in high school because he liked basketball more at that time. But the baseball coach at his high school took note of him and brought him back into playing baseball.

In the interview, O’Neill said, “I had taken into basketball so much in high school. I almost did not play baseball my 11th grade year. He called me in the office and said you can’t do this. You have so much talent in baseball and so I continued to play. And obviously was drafted the next year.”

Paul O’Neill was also looking at colleges when he was picked up by the MLB. Some parts of the interview were posted on Twitter by YES Network. It cited him to say:

“Paul O’Neill almost stepped away from baseball in high school. A year later, he was drafted while visiting where he planned to play in college.”

During the 1981 draft, Paul O’Neill was actually at the University of South Florida, where he got some great advice. Because of this, he chose to play in the MLB instead of going to college. Over the course of his career, O’Neill played in five All-Star games and won a total of five World Series titles.

Paul O’Neill’s rise to become a Yankees legend

Currently, Paul O’Neill works for YES Network as a commentator and game analyst. But before that, he played in the MLB for 17 years, mostly with the Yankees. After eight years with the Cincinnati Reds, the right fielder joined the Yankees in 1993. He was key part of the team that won four World Series titles with Derek Jeter.

In 2022, when the New York Yankees announced to retire Paul O’Neill’s number 21, he told Fox Sports:

“It’s the highest honor I’ve ever gotten in baseball.”

Paul O’Neill was also a very serious player who did whatever it took to win. Even Derek Jeter sent him a sweet message following the Yankees’ decision to honor him. Even though O’Neill is now a commentator and hasn’t played for a long time, fans will never forget what he did for them.

How do you feel about the fact that Paul O’Neill almost stopped playing baseball? Please tell us what you think in the comments!

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