The Yankees need to retire these numbers in Monument Park, for reasons both good and bad.
The New York Yankees have featured rosters littered with way too many stars during their time-honored history.
This has resulted in a common quandary: Who do we honor with a jersey retirement ceremony? It can’t be everyone, right?
Over the years, the Yanks have been a bit lucky. Some of these decisions were made for them when player after player attained icon status (after all, were you really going to deny Derek Jeter’s No. 2?). The single digits are all gone, and that’s alright. Surprised it didn’t happen earlier, actually.
But what are we supposed to do with the middle ground? Whose numbers are being actively avoided and informally retired as we speak? These players probably need an official day of honor sometime soon, simply so we can put the debate to rest.
But no more! This is it! We promise.
3. Paul O’Neill
How can the Yankees keep issuing The Warrior’s number?
See, here’s one where the dirty work has been done for the Yankees.
Back in 2008, reliever LaTroy Hawkins was issued O’Neill’s No. 21, seven years after the Yankee legend had hung up his spikes after a tearful ovation in right field during the 2001 World Series. Fans jeered Hawkins so hard he had to give up the digits, and the number hasn’t been worn since.
So why not just retire 21 and make it official?
The Yanks threw O’Neill a party in 2015 and did everything but officially take his jersey out of commission, so what’s the plan here? Keep things informal, and then after O’Neill passes away, start passing the number around willy-nilly? You think the fans will take kindly to that?
There’s zero reason not to give O’Neill, a beloved broadcaster, one more big ticket-selling ceremony, and then send the number off into the rafters. No one! Is wearing! It anyway!
He was the engine that made the ’90s Yankees go, and a four-time All-Star in Pinstripes to boot. Just end this charade.