Yankees Great Paul O'Neill Gives His Rookie Namesake A Nice Surprise

Oneil Cruz is one of the most unique talents in the major leagues. The Pittsburgh Pirates rookie shortstop hits the ball harder, throws the ball faster, and runs quicker, than almost anyone in baseball. 

And what about that name? Cruz's father was a huge New York Yankees fan during their World Series dominance of the late '90s. His favorite player? Paul O'Neill. So when his future rookie phenom son was born on Oct. 4, 1998, he gave him the unique name of Oneil. 

The rookie got a very special surprise when arrived at Yankee Stadium the other day... From O'Neill to Oneil.

In an unexpected FaceTime call, O'Neill told Oneil that he was proud to share the name with him, and had him presented with a No. 21 O'Neill jersey in Yankee Pinstripes. Cruz's reaction? He kissed the #21. 

Cruz leads all National League rookies with 17 HR and 51 RBIs since being brought up to the majors on June 20th. (Yes, that even includes Michael Harris II of the Atlanta Braves). He's also stolen eight bases. 

The 6'7" rookie has the major leagues' hardest hit ball by maximum exit velocity on the entire season (122 MPH); he's in the 98th percentile in sprint speed; 97th percentile in barrel %; 94th percentile in average exit velocity. Yes, this kid has some tools. 

And now he also has Paul O'Neill vintage jersey.

 Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports