The Yankees had so many great players on those late-1990s dynasty teams, but O’Neill was my favorite. Nobody played harder, and he always struck me as one of those guys who hated to lose more than he wanted to win. Every time they had a comeback in a big game, it seemed like O’Neill had a part in it. When O’Neill joined the team in 1992, the Yankees had just finished a fourth-place 76-86 season and hadn’t won a World Series title since 1978. They hadn’t even played in the postseason since 1981. When he retired in 2001, they’d played in seven straight postseasons and five World Series, winning four.
I wish I could find a higher-quality version, but the 9th-inning chant in Yankee Stadium in game 5 of the 2001 World Series — O’Neill’s final home game — still tears me up.
★ Sunday, 10 August 2014