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The Warrior, Paul O’Neil’s No. 21 Retired

THE BRONX — It was a bright summer afternoon in the Bronx on Paul O’Neil Day, the day The Warrior would be remembered in New York Yankees lore until the end of time as his No. 21 was retired at Yankee Stadium. As O’Neil yanked down the curtain that laid over his No. 21 plaque, a roar of “Paul O’Neil” chants could be heard echoing around the Yankee Stadium.

Former New York Yankee legends who helped O’Neil and the Yankees captivate a dynasty in the mid to late 1990s and 2000-’01 were also in attendance on Sunday. In addition, all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, the winningest pitcher in postseason history Andy Pettitte, notable Puerto Ricans and former Yankees Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, and Constant “Tino” Martínez supported their former teammate as he received the prestigious honor.

During the pregame ceremony, O’Neil received video messages from various people who couldn’t attend the festivities, from former coaches and teammates, including former Yankees captains Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, and manager Joe Torre.

But one appearance was a pleasant surprise, the son of the late Roberto Clemente, Roberto Clemente Jr. His father, the legendary Puerto Rican, Pittsburgh Pirate, and extraordinary humanitarian, proudly donned No. 21 during his 18-year career. Clemente Jr. noted in his message how proud his father would be that O’Neil represented No. 21 so profoundly. Likewise, O’Neil recognized the importance of representing the number and attributed No. 21 to Clemente’s great service to the game of baseball and beyond.


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 Photos by Bill Menzel/Latino Sports


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