New York Yankees fans remember Paul O’Neill as an intense and smart player who led by example. But can he really manage a Major League team without any experience? You bet he can.
“I would love to sit down and find out what their thoughts are, O’Neill said recently of the Cincinnati Reds manager position. “There are basically two organizations in my life, the Reds and the Yankees. Any time you live in the city, you understand and see what happens in an organization.”
- Understanding Of The Game. O’Neill has proven himself as an intelligent and savvy baseball man both during his days as a player and in the broadcast booth. He had an opportunity to play under Joe Torre, who has also mentored Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly.
- Demeanor. This could be his greatest attribute. O’Neill played the game like it is meant to be played. He gave his all, all of the time. He was a fierce competitor who hustled in all situations, but especially in the outfield and on the base paths. This attitude bodes well for success as a manager.
- Hitting Ability. As Major League Baseball evolves into a pitcher’s sport, especially in the post-season, a manager who can assist the hitting coach is a valuable commodity. O’Neill finished with a very respectable .288 career batting average, including winning the American League Batting crown in 1994.
- World Series Success. In his 17 years he collected five World Series rings. He has been through the pressure of the post-season and flourished. This should quiet any skeptics who might doubt him because of his lack of managerial experience.
- He is a winner. He comes from the Thurman Munson and Derek Jeter mold in that his heart always elevated his physical ability.
Although the Reds are reportedly leaning towards an internal candidate, they would do well to consider O’Neill. If he doesn’t sign there, the Yankees should find a way to utilize his talents, since they finished 24th in the majors in 2013 with a team batting average of .242.