The 58-year-old enjoyed his days in MLB, which were filled with some incredible moments.
His most famous moment, however, came before he joined the Yankees.
As a right fielder for the Reds, O’Neill’s most renowned play looked more like a soccer highlight than a baseball play.
The Paul O’Neill Kick
During the 10th inning in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, O’Neill, who was manning right field, had a chance to prevent the game-winning run at the plate.
After Lenny Dykstra laced a base hit to O’Neill, the right fielder bobbled the ball and was unable to get it out of his glove to throw it home. In a fit of frustration, O’Neill ended up kicking the baseball into the infield and right to Todd Benzinger at first base.
In doing so, O’Neill miraculously prevented Steve Jeltz from scoring the go-ahead run in what was one of the more bizarre moments in MLB history.
Paul O’Neill’s MLB Career
Paul O’Neill, a Columbus, Ohio native, spent 17 seasons in the Major Leagues.
He played his first eight seasons for the Cincinnati Reds in the National League, winning one World Series with the franchise. He made one All-Star team in Cincinnati before he was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for Roberto Kelly.
Playing at Yankee Stadium alongside team greats like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, O’Neill helped the team reach the postseason in 1995 — the first time the organization made the playoffs in 14 years. He was a four-time All-Star in New York and won four more rings in the Bronx, defeating the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and 1999, San Diego Padres in 1998, and the New York Mets in 2000.
O’Neill is the only player in MLB history to have featured on the winning team during three perfect games, including the historical performances from Tom Browning, David Wells and David Cone.
Throughout his career, O’Neill logged 281 home runs, 1,269 RBI and posted a career batting average of .288. One of the American League’s best hitters, O’Neill retired in 2001 after his age-38 season.
In addition to his MLB career, O’Neill made a cameo appearance on the popular television show, Seinfeld, in 1995, and later went on to become a broadcaster for the Yankees’ own YES Network.