Who's been the Paul O'Neill of sports since O'Neill retired in 2001?

Who’s been the Paul O’Neill of sports since O’Neill retired in 2001? O’Neill was a MLB player from 1985 to 2001, notable for his 5 championships with the Reds and Yankees in the 1990s and his blue-collar, warrior mentality.

Who has the blue-collar, intense work ethic in sports today? Any names?
It’s not just about playing hurt, because nearly everyone plays hurt. These guys play when they’re injured.

*It’s not just about being tough, because nearly everyone who is willing to step into the batter’s box against a baseball traveling in excess of 90 mph is tough. These guys play chicken with the ball when it’s headed right for them.

It’s not about having dirt on your uniform, because nearly everyone ends up with some dirt on their uniform. These guys end up with a veritable rainbow of colors on their uniforms when the game is over.

These guys are simply wired differently than everyone else. They leave it all out on the field because they don’t know any other way to perform.

These guys wear their emotions on their sleeves and make no apologies for who they are.

These guys know that pain heals, chicks dig scars and glory lasts forever.

Without further ado, I present to you the greatest warriors in the Yankees’ history.*

He was a blue-collar guy who played a blue-collar brand of baseball—hard, intense and at full speed.

Given the threads you have started I am not sure that you will get this. The majority of people do not use the Yankees as a measuring stick for every damn thing.

Some candidates:

[ul]
[li]Frank Gore, who at the ripe old age of 37 is still trucking along like nobody’s business as a running back.[/li][li]Eli Manning, made hundreds of consecutive starts while all of his NFC East rival teams went through quarterbacks like a circus carousel.[/li][li]Jason Witten, played hundreds of games, only ever missed one game (due to a broken jaw as a rookie,) even then, he played the very next week with his jaw wired to heal.[/li][/ul]
That being said - I would like to second what **Ike Witt **just said above - this is not your personal New York Yankees fan message board for sounding off.

If you have to explain who Paul O’Neill is, he doesn’t deserve the thread.

Jesus, man, another Yankees thread?

There’s a bazillion hard working athletes. Look around. Paul O’Neill was not special. Kevin Pillar works hard. Buster Posey. Francisco Lindor. Ketel Marte. Marcus Stroman. Max Scherzer.

When the media tells you so and so is a blue collar, gritty ballplayer, they’re 98% full of shit. They’ve just taken a guy - and it’s always a white guy - and decided to anoint him a special hero so they can tell a narrative. It’s horseshit.

I mean, holy moly, dude, read your own words:

What does this even mean? If I wrote that about a Blue Jay player you’d think I was nuts. What the hell are you talking about? Paul O’Neill wasn’t wired differently and didn’t try any harder than the average MLB player. I saw him play for 15 years and never once thought he was outhustling anyone, and there is no objective evidence at all that he did.

There is Major League Baseball outside of the Bronx. The Yankees has a tremendous team in the late 90s, one of the best ever assembled, but they were not the only team there’s ever been and they were not some sort of special character test; they were just a team with a larger percentage of above average ballplayers than the other teams. Pauyl O’Neill was a really, really good ballplayer. That’s it.

I’m a Yankees fan and this OP made me groan. I liked O’Neill but he played right next to an even better outfielder: Bernie Williams. Where’s Bernie’s over-the-top hagiography? (Rhetorical question, just in case.)

I get that the OP is a Yankees fan but I’m very confused by using O’Neill as the reference tough guy. He was a contemporary of Cal Ripken and if you want an example of a guy who played everyday at a high level that seems to be where you would naturally look.

So the question should be who is the next Iron Man after Ripken?

I know the answer isn’t any one on the Dodgers even Bellinger only played 156 games last year though he did get 162 in the year before.

It’s not always white guys. Why does the media mention the word blue collar whenever it is a white guy, though?

**Blue collar means hardworking, gritty, grinding, playing to win. **

Kobe Bryant, who is black, mentioned it in 1996. God rest his soul.

**“I don’t want (fans) to think I’m just a high school kid coming in here thinking the world owes me something. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to work. That’s something I want people to think about me in the city of L.A. I want them to think I’m a blue-collar basketball player and a blue-collar person and I want to get out there and work hard night in and night out.”

**

The numbers are indicative of his efforts throughout the playoffs, a post-season where Boyle has been the consummate blue-collar performer.

And while New York has plenty of firepower in the form of Richards, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and others, the native of Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island points to their balanced, unselfish approach as the key reason for their success.
“Well, blue-collar probably, I guess,” said Richards, in explaining the best way to describe the Rangers. “But, you know, it’s that workmanlike mentality.

“We were young, and we just worked extremely hard,” Staal said. “We were blue-collar, worked as a team to get it done every night. I remember after the [series ended with Adam Henrique’s goal for the Devils in overtime of Game 6] sitting around talking to the guys, saying how close we were. And, ‘Oh, we’ll do it again.’ But you never know, and you have to take advantage of those moments.

“The basketball fans are trendy fans, corporate types,” said Tommy Michos, a Staten Island resident and an expert on Garden fans – he works at the pizzeria downstairs.
“Now the Rangers fans, they’re more of your loyal fans,” Michos added. “You see the same faces all the time. They’re mostly blue-collar, and they spend a lot more money.”

“Mark has a charisma about him that very few people in sports have,” Rangers assistant general manager Don Maloney said. "He has been a superstar with a blue-collar kind of background, so everybody can relate to him. And he has an influence on the players that just couldn’t be replaced the last three years.

Since Tortorella has taken over behind the bench, the Rangers have become a hard-working, blue-collar bunch that likes to forecheck and drive the net, so it isn’t surprising that their coach took offense to the comments.

“He was a lunch-pail type of athlete, a blue collar type of kid,” said Brent Clark, Tortorella’s baseball coach at Concord-Carlisle High School in the '70s. “I never knew back then he’d have the demeanor for a coach, because I thought he was so hyper and on the edge that he might implode. And possibly he’s done that a few times, but we’re certainly proud of what he’s done and I respect what he’s done and what he’s become. I enjoyed coaching him. He was a coach’s dream.”

“New York is a blue-collar kind of town. St. John’s is going to be a blue-collar type of basketball team. I think how we played up until this point – maybe not the full 40 minutes we talked about – but I think our guys, they’re leaving it out on the floor.”

I remember O’Neill as an enormous crybaby who would throw a childish tantrum every time he struck out. But I’m not a Yankees fan.

I think I’ll change my screen name to “Nationals 2019 Champs.”

Blue collar means hardworking, grit.

Yes, whenever he got struck out, he would whine. He is very passionate about winning championships.

And yet it always is. I would guess terms like “hard working,” “Gritty” and “Blue collar” are applied to white guys a hundred times more frequently than to white guys or Latin guys. I’m not saying YOU personally do, but it’s sure how the media like to play it.

I cannot remember the last time a black MLB player was characterized as gritty or hard working, though of course most of them must be. I am sure I could dig up an example but it’s astoundingly rare. The narrative tends to be about their talent, and if they’re too gritty people say they have attitude problems.

If a black guy bitches and whines every time a called strike three doesn’t go his way, no one says he’s “passionate about winning championships.” They say he’s got attitude problems and only cares about his batting average or some shit like that.

Dude, have some self awareness about what you’re writing. You parroted this:

No, it’s not. Not any more than any other Major League city. Don’t believe the press; believe facts and logic. Do you really think NEW YORK CITY is more blue collar than, say, Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Philadelphia or Oakland or Houston or St. Louis or Milwaukee or Atlanta or Kansas City or Denver or Phoenix or Toronto or Boston? Holy shit, dude. No one seriously thinks this. New York is the LEAST blue collar city with an MLB team except D.C., arguably San Francisco and, maybe, Los Angeles.

Nor is there a shred of evidence, none at all, that New Yorkers prefer “Gritty” athletes any more than other cities do. Providing examples of hockey players is pointless, since “He’s a blue collar, lunchpail kinda guy” is what they say about almost any Canadian player (but not a European one no matter how hard they work.) Every NHL city has guys who are called that when the team is playing well and someone wants to compliment them. As to baseball, I chortle at the idea New York fans admire “gritty” more than other cities.

The clear answer here is Draymond Green.

I think **RickJay **hit it on the head; black athletes are automatically likelier to be typecast as party animals or divas while the white guys are likelier to be cast as salt-of-the-earth workmanlike all-about-business types. This isn’t to say one can’t get the image of the other, but they have to work harder at it.

The only black athlete that got the gritty image that comes to mind right away is Jerry Rice. He was legendary for his brutal off-season workout regimen.

The OP would have been better served starting a Who is your favorite baseball player or Who is your favorite athlete thread. Then he could have waxed rhapsodic about Mr. O’Neill without muddying the waters. The ‘blue collar, lunch pail’ trope has been trotted out by idiot announcers for decades. It’s beyond cringe-worthy at this point.

While we’re on the topic of Paul O’Neill, though, I have to say I’m a bit surprised by his broadcasting personality. He’s an announcer for the Yanks on the YES network now and I expected him to be overly-intense. I find his off-screen politics odious, but that doesn’t carry over on air. He’s a seemingly laid-back, affable goober with only nice things to say about everyone. Unexpected, to me anyway.
Rumor has it he’s interested in managing the Reds. Now that would be entertaining.

Also, that ‘warrior’ moniker was propagated by Steinbrenner himself. Do you really think O’Neill wanted to win more or worked harder than his teammates? It was nonsense. He just wore his emotions on his sleeve. It’s time for someone else to wear #21 again.

The Nationals have at least two guys who fit. The first is Howie Kendrick, who just finds ways to get things done and came back from a horrific injury last year to be a big part of the World Series win. The second is Max Scherzer. The guy pitched after breaking his nose and looking like he’d just been beaten to within an inch of his life and shut down a pretty decent Phillies lineup.

The current poster child for whiny crybaby whose fans hilariously overrate him is Philip Rivers. No championships, but without O’Neill, his teams win 4 of 5 (he hit like a boss in 2000).

On the contrary, Paul O’Neill will always be remembered for one of the most fantastic fielding plays in major league baseball history. I was there.*

It was the bottom of the tenth inning, Reds tied with Phillies, O’Neill in right field for the Reds, the Phils’ Steve Jeltz on second base, when Lenny Dykstra singles to right. O’Neill charges the ball, knowing it’ll take a fast, accurate throw to keep Jeltz from scoring the game-winning run, and this happens.

Probably the greatest play I’ve ever seen. :smiley:

*well, watching on TV anyway.

What, better than this play by the greatest athlete in MLB history?