Paul O’Neill was a very good outfielder back in the day.
He won a World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990, and four with the New York Yankees in the late-1990s.
He played 17 seasons in MLB and hit 281 home runs, drove in 1,269, and had 2,107 hits.
A batting title and five All-Star Games round out his impressive resume.
As you can imagine, a player with his kind of production and popularity in a team like the Yankees would have lots of fans, in America and the rest of the world.
Somewhere in the Dominican Republic, in 1998, a man decided to name his child after O’Neill.
Granted, the spelling isn’t 100 percent correct, but the intention definitely counts.
On October 4th, 1998, Oneil Cruz was born.
Almost 24 years later, he is a mainstay in the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup.
During the series between the Pirates and the Yankees, O’Neill called young Oneil via FaceTime, and the two shared some minutes chatting.
“How cool is this? Oneil Cruz received a special FaceTime from Paul O’Neill, the player he is named after, and got hooked up with his jersey!” MLB tweeted.
How cool is this?
Oneil Cruz received a special FaceTime from Paul O’Neill, the player he is named after, and got hooked up with his jersey! pic.twitter.com/rt37lqoYyL
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2022
Cruz Loved Chatting With O’Neill
Cruz was all smiles during the conversation with his namesake.
His family would be so proud!
Cruz is actually one of the brightest young players in baseball.
He hasn’t even scratched his potential yet, but after a lousy start in 2022, he has been playing better as of late.
In 76 games and 308 plate appearances, he is hitting .218/.276/.461 with 17 home runs.
He was a subpar hitter for a big portion of the season, but has improved to the point he is basically a league-average hitter by the number with a 102 wRC+ (100 is considered average).
He has some of the loudest tools you will see: a record exit velocity, hard throws from shortstop to first base, elite height at 6-foot-7, and blazing speed for someone his size.
For Cruz, the sky is the limit.
He just need at-bats to learn, and the Pirates are prepared to give them to him.