Monday, November 05, 2001

O'Neill goes out with two hits

The Associated Press

        PHOENIX — Paul O'Neill could only watch from the New York Yankees' dugout when the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to win Game 7 of the World Series on Sunday night.

        After Luis Gonzalez's single fell into center field to give Arizona a 3-2 win, O'Neill stood with his hands crossed on the dugout railing in silence, his career over.

        “I'm just disappointed because we didn't win this World Series,” he said. “Everybody is disappointed. Everybody is finished tonight.”

        O'Neill is retiring after nine seasons in New York, five World Series titles in his career — including one in Cincinnati — and an attitude that won him admiration from some of the toughest critics.

        “He's one of the great warriors you'll see in any sport,” owner George Steinbrenner said.

        O'Neill came to New York after the 1992 season in a trade for Roberto Kelly. That became the starting point for this Yankees dynasty.

        O'Neill helped turn around a team that was near the bottom of the league in the early 90s, bringing his fiery attitude characterized by his equipment-throwing tirades after bad at-bats.

        “Paul O'Neill is going to be missed for all he's meant in my life,” manager Joe Torre said.

        O'Neill went 2-for-3 in his final game. He doubled in the first inning, but was thrown out stretching for a triple on a strong relay by second baseman Craig Counsell.

        O'Neill stared out at Counsell as he slowly walked to the dugout, surprised by the play. O'Neill also singled in the seventh inning, helping the Yankees tie the game at 1.

        But when Randy Johnson entered in the eighth as a reliever, O'Neill was pulled for pinch-hitter Chuck Knoblauch.

        In the clubhouse after the game, O'Neill gave encouragement to some of the younger Yankees. He told rookie Nick Johnson, “You have to carry it on.”

        Steinbrenner was defiant that his team would return to the Series next year despite an offseason that promises to be full of changes.

        “We'll be back,” he said. “Mark that down. We'll be back.”

        Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and Knoblauch are eligible for free agency. While those three potential free agents have expressed interest in staying with the Yankees, it is not certain whether New York will offer them enough to remain.

        GM Brian Cashman said whatever offseason decisions he makes won't be determined by what happened in Game 7.

        “There's no way you can decide what to do based on nine innings,” he said. “If you do that, you won't have long-term success. You might get lucky a few times, but you have to look at the whole picture.”

        Steinbrenner said he and his baseball people will start looking toward 2002 after letting this loss settle in — no later than Tuesday.

        One of the first orders of business will be finalizing new contracts for Cashman and manager Joe Torre.


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St. X, Madeira lose in regional soccer
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Kentucky girls cross country
Three make state volleyball tourney
Cyclones 2, Richmond 1
Jets 16, Saints 9
Rochester 3, Mighty Ducks 2

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Jaguars lose fifth in row
Xavier picked to win A-10 West
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Ohio second-round pairings
Ohio first-round scores
Colerain 30, Hamilton 7
Elder 38, Lebanon 13
Princeton 56, Anderson 20
St. Xavier 41, Northmont 6
Dayton Carroll 18, Roger Bacon 13
McNicholas 56, Mount Healthy 13
New Richmond 42, Ross 38
Piqua 21, Edgewood 0
Washington C.H. 39, Indian Hill 31
Wyoming 49, Jonathan Alder 21
Badin 23, Valley View 16
Coldwater 54, Madeira 14
North College Hill 41, Chillicothe Zane Trace 10
Reading 39, Wheelersburg 31
Covington 47, Williamsburg 14
Kentucky second-round pairings
Kentucky first-round scores
Ballard 43, Dixie Heights 32
Beechwood 56, Berea 6
Bellevue 27, Nicholas Co. 13
Covington Catholic 44, Harrison Co. 22
Highlands 49, Bourbon County 30
Holmes 24, Montgomery County 0
Lexington Catholic 54, Grant County 14
Lloyd 46, East Carter 0
Newport Central Catholic 56, Raceland 7
Paris 37, Holy Cross 6
Shelby County 19, Boone County 17
Indiana playoff pairings
Indiana playoff scores