Who was the best player to ever suit up for both the Reds and Yankees?

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Paul O'Neill
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Paul O'Neill / RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds welcome the New York Yankees to town this weekend for the first time since 2017. One could make the argument that these are two of the most storied franchises in baseball history.

While the Reds (5) may not match the Yankees (27) in terms of World Championships, there has been no shortage of great players to play for both franchises.

Names like David Wells, Aroldis Chapman, and Tony Fernandez played in both the Queen City and the Bronx. More recently, names like Jay Buce, Sonny Gray, and Todd Frazier suited up for both the Reds and the Yankees.

Who was the best player to ever suit up for both the Reds and Yankees?

But when it comes to the greatest player to ever wear both a Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees uniform, it's doubtful that anyone beats out Paul O'Neill. The outfielder spent 17 years in the major leagues, eight of which were spent with the Reds. The other nine saw O'Neill swinging for the fences in a Yankees uniform.

O'Neill is a five-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. The Ohio native was part of the Reds 1990 squad that won the World Series in wire-to-wire fashion, and was also a member of the Yankees team that won it all in 1996, as well as that dynasty that took home three consecutive Commissioner's Trophies from 1998-2000.

O'Neill was originally drafted in 1981 by the Reds, and then made his major league debut four years later in September of 1985. O'Neill cranked out a single in his very first at-bat, but only played in five games during that season. O'Neill played even less the following year, netting only three appearances, all as a pinch hitter.

It wasn't until 1987 that O'Neill finally started to become a regular in the Reds lineup. He than appeared in 145 games in 1988. O'Neill's greatest season in Cincinnati came the year following the team's wire-to-wire run to the World Championship. In 1991, Paul O'Neill hit .256 and crushed 28 homers while going to his first All-Star Game.

Following the 1992 season, O'Neill was dealt to the New York Yankees in exchange for outfielder Roberto Kelly. Though he had an All-Star performance in 1993, the Reds traded Kelly the following year to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Deion "Primetime" Sanders.

Paul O'Neill went on to become one of the most beloved Yankees of all-time. By the end of his career, O'Neill hit .303 with the Yankees and crushed 185 home runs with the Bronx Bombers. Though if you ask Cosmo Kramer, the number should probably be 186.

Now retired, Paul O'Neill is the color commentator for the Neww York Yankees broadcasts on the YES Network. O'Neill will always be remembered as a Yankee first, but Reds fans know that his illustrious career began in Cincinnati.

Next. Ranking the Reds 10 most important young players. dark