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World Series 2001
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11/02/2001 05:56 AM ET
O'Neill saluted by Yankee fans
By Mark Feinsand
MLB.com
Paul O'Neill tips his hat to the fans after the top of the ninth inning.
Fans salute O'Neill: 56k | 300k

NEW YORK -- If Thursday night was in fact Paul O'Neill's final game in Yankee Stadium, he went out with a bang. For the second straight night, O'Neill's Yankees tied the game with a home run in the bottom of the ninth and won it in extra innings, moving one game away from a fourth consecutive title, which would be O'Neill's sixth.

"To run out on the field after winning a World Series game, it was great," O'Neill said. "Everyone wants to go out winning another ring. The feeling of accomplishment after winning a World Series is the best thing that a player can feel. You feel so good after one game, especially a game like last night or tonight, but the feeling you get when it's over and you've won, that's the feeling you relish."

One more victory, and O'Neill will have the opportunity to feel that for perhaps the final time. But there will be plenty of time for him to think about that after the World Series. Now, all of his concentration is focused on getting one final win.

"I hope we don't let this sink in until we accomplish what we're trying to do," O'Neill said. "We've been good at that in the past, knowing that one game means nothing unless you win four of them. That still holds true. The trophy still doesn't come in here until you've won four games. We have (Randy) Johnson and (Curt) Schilling now, and we have to prove that we can beat them in one game."


"Everyone wants to go out winning another ring. The feeling of accomplishment after winning a World Series is the best thing that a player can feel. You feel so good after one game, especially a game like last night or tonight, but the feeling you get when it's over and you've won, that's the feeling you relish."

--Paul O'Neill

If O'Neill wasn't thinking about playing for the final time in the ballpark he has called home for nine seasons, the 55,018 in attendance were making up for it. From the beginning of the game, fans acknowledged O'Neill for his career in pinstripes, chanting "Paulie, Paulie!" as he took his customary position in right field.

"He's had a great career," said Chuck Knoblauch, who scored the winning run in Game 5. "The fans showed their appreciation tonight. It was very emotional and I'm sure he's very emotional about it. To go out this way at Yankee Stadium was a great way for him."

In the middle of the fifth inning, the scoreboard showed a video montage of O'Neill's greatest moments in pinstripes while the Scandal's 1980s hit, "The Warrior" -- the nickname Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gave to his four-time All-Star -- was playing.

O'Neill was 0-for-3 on the night, walking twice. After the top of the ninth inning, the fans, realizing that they may be seeing their warrior for the final time in pinstripes, began chanting his name.

"Paul-O'Neill, Paul-O'Neill." It rang throughout the stadium for the entire inning, the crowd waiting for O'Neill to acknowledge their feeling for him.

Nice try. There was a game going on.