Monday, September 8, 2014

#276 Paul O'Neill

About the Front: I have no idea who the blurry dude in the on-deck circle is. Paul O'Neill was driven in most often in 1992 by Joe Oliver, so that's a possibility.

About the Back: Looking at these numbers, would anyone predict that O'Neill would bat .303/.377/.492 with 185 homers in a nine-year stint with the Yankees? There's a reason the musical wasn't called "Damn Dodgers", folks.

Triple Play:

1. The 1994 strike cut short Paul's best season. He was the American League batting champ (.359), reached base at a .460 clip, slugged .603, and swatted 21 home runs with 83 RBI in 103 games.

2. Perhaps you recall his 1995 cameo on Seinfeld, when Kramer promised a sick child that the Yankee outfielder would hit two home runs in a single game. O'Neill hit one, but tripled and scored on an error in his last shot at the feat. Just as good, right?

3. He currently appears on YES Yankee game broadcasts as one of the team's roving band of ex-player analysts. The team gave him his own plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park this past August.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Man, I couldn't STAND Paul O'Neill. It seemed like he threw a tantrum in the dugout every time he didn't get a hit. Have some dignity, guy.

Bill James Said: "Like Eddie Murray, he seemed to change his game plan last year, becoming much more aggressive early in the count." Though Paul's walks dropped from 77 in 1992 to 44 in 1993, his overall slash line jumped from .246/.346/.373 to .311/.367/.504.

On This Date in 1993: September 8. Darryl Kile no-hit the Mets on just 83 pitches in a 7-1 Houston win. The lone New York run was scored by Jeff McKnight, who drew the only walk issued by Kile and raced home on a throwing error by Jeff Bagwell. Kile also struck out nine; he fanned third baseman Butch Huskey (making his MLB debut) three times.

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