Swing and a Hit

Nine Innings of What Baseball Taught Me


By Paul O’Neill

By Jack Curry

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This fun and fiery New York Times bestselling memoir tells the life story of All Star Yankee and five-time World Champion, Paul O’Neill, like you’ve never seen him before.

In Swing and Hit​, O’Neill elaborates on his most important hitting principles, lessons, and memories—exploring those elements across ten chapters (to align with the nine innings of a baseball game and one extra inning). Here, O’Neill, with his intense temperament, describes what he did as a hitter, how he adjusted to pitchers, how he boosted his confidence, how he battled with umpires (and water coolers), and what advice he would give to current hitters.
O’Neill has always been a tough out at the plate. Recalling how he started to swing at bat as a two-year-old and kept swinging it professionally until he was thirty-eight, O’Neill provides constant insights into the beauty and frustration of playing baseball. The legendary Ted Williams said using a round bat to hit a round ball is the most difficult thing to do in sports. Naturally, O’Neill, who once received a surprise call from Williams that was filled with hitting advice, agrees.
Swing and Hit​ features O’Neill’s most thoughtful revelations and offers clubhouse stories from some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball—hitters, managers, and teammates like Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Pete Rose, and Bernie Williams.
Remember, O’Neill, ever the perfectionist, was the type of hitter who believed that pitchers didn’t ever get him out. For that incredible reason and so many others, Swing and Hit​ is essential reading for any baseball fan.



Breaking into the Majors with Pete Rose, the Hit King

I kept peeking to my left and right in the dugout, almost waiting for a security guard to forcefully grab my arm and tell me it was time to leave. I was wearing a splashy Cincinnati Reds uniform with the number 21 and sitting with the other players, because I was finally one of them. I was part of the team I adored while growing up in Columbus, Ohio, so I was exactly where I always wanted to be. But I felt like an impostor. Did I really belong?

I was eight days into my major-league career, a long-awaited journey that fortunately started with me notching a hit in my first plate appearance. Obviously, that was a monumental relief. But, with such a flimsy big-league résumé, I was still uncertain and I was still hundreds of at bats away from feeling secure.

Everywhere I turned, I saw another famous face that floored me because these were the men I had idolized. I was playing beside the incomparable Pete Rose, the clutch Tony Pérez, and the reliable Davey Concepción, the players from the vaunted Big Red Machine championship teams I had imitated while imagining Game 7s in my backyard. Those guys were my heroes while they were winning World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Sitting in that Reds dugout, trying to prevent my knees from shaking and my eyes from growing as wide as Frisbees, I still felt like that kid hitting tennis balls with a 28-ounce Louisville Slugger, not an authentic major leaguer. It was so surreal.

I had endless baseball dreams, gigantic baseball dreams—just like thousands and thousands of other kids in Ohio. My dad, Charles “Chick” O’Neill, was a former minor league pitcher, and he taught me to work harder than everyone else and hit line drives. As he watched me stand tall and whip my bat through the strike zone from the left side, he also told me my swing reminded him of Ted Williams’s. Ted Williams? Even as a six-year-old kid, that was a magical name for me to hear. I can still hear him saying that, the kind of unforgettable compliment that a proud father would make and the kind of compliment that I hung on to like a life preserver and used as motivation throughout my career.

My father’s influence was with me for every at bat of my seventeen-year major league career because he was the first prominent and knowledgeable voice I absorbed regarding the art of hitting. For all 2,190 of my hits (including the regular season and postseason), my dad had an impact. He would throw endless rounds of batting practice, he would preach about hitting liners, and he would teach me, coach me, and never lambaste me. After the most depressing of childhood losses in which I went 0 for 4 or made an error and wanted to hide behind a tree, my father’s hopeful attitude always made me excited to jump into the Ford Ranchero with him and get ready for the next ice-cream cone and the next baseball adventure.

From an excitable and energetic boy aggressively swinging a bat, I morphed into a much more emotional hitter, who was stubborn and studious and who had a serious approach to hitting a baseball. My best and most comfortable approach was to swing so that I connected with the top half of the baseball, not the lower half, and not trying to swing under the baseball. As my swing stayed on top of the ball, my bat would level out through the strike zone and I would end up hitting a lot of line drives. At the end of my swing, I would elevate my bat and have a slight uppercut. But I always started my swing on a level plane because that kept my bat in the strike zone longer. Unless I hit a baseball powerfully and squarely, my line drives didn’t typically leave the ballpark. But line drives do find the outfield grass, and they do find the outfield gaps, and that’s what I was trying to do as a hitter.

These days, there’s a legion of prominent and talented hitters who have massive uppercut swings because they want to swing under the baseball to get the ball in the air and blast it over the fence. They are chasing home runs, and I can’t blame them for doing that because they’re chasing the biggest and most lucrative prize in the sport. Teams dig the long ball, and home runs are being clubbed in historic numbers. There were 6,776 homers hit in the majors in 2019, an all-time record that obliterated the previous one from 2017 by 11 percent.

The term launch angle, which measures the vertical angle at which a baseball leaves a bat after a player makes contact, didn’t exist when I was playing. Neither did exit velocity, which measures the speed (in miles per hour) at which a baseball travels off the bat. Generally speaking, the harder a baseball is hit, the more likely it is to rocket past or around a fielder or over a fence and turn into a base hit. Nowadays, Little Leaguers know the definition of those terms and try to be just like the idols they watch on television. In the Yankees dugout, teammates watch Giancarlo Stanton—the king of exit velocity—scorch another ball and they ask, “Did he hit that one 120?” Of course, that means 120 miles per hour.

There are so many different ways to be a successful hitter because hitting is about feeling comfortable and confident and making sure every aspect of your swing is in sync. From the way you stride forward to the way you rotate your hips to the way you power your bat toward the baseball, every action has to blend seamlessly. That comfort and that confidence will be different for each hitter. While I was never a proponent of criticizing the way any hitter hits or forcing my ideas on any hitter, I will explain why my style worked for me, why I think my style has staying power, and why I think my style can work for others.

As hitters graduate to the highest levels of the sport, they are going to hear different voices flooding their brains with opinions about hitting. Tons of voices. Every day of my professional career, I had conversations about hitting with teammates, coaches, and former players. Some of these conversations were great and helpful. Some of these conversations were trivial and useless. What I learned is that hitters need to determine what is right for them and stay loyal to what makes them comfortable and successful. But that attitude didn’t mean that I was resistant to making changes.

Rick Down, the Yankees’ hitting coach, helped me implement a leg kick when I was traded to New York, and that timing mechanism was crucial to my balance in the box and bolstered my career. I hit .259 with a .336 on-base percentage, a .431 slugging percentage and 96 homers in 799 games in Cincinnati, and I hit .303 with a .377 OBP, a .492 slugging percentage and 185 homers in 1,254 games in New York. With the new leg kick and the new way of hitting, I was a much better hitter with the Yankees.

My strategy was to listen to what coaches and teammates offered, determine if it fit into the way I wanted to hit and if it produced positive results, and then make any potential alterations. I was open to tweaks, but wouldn’t change just because a coach or a manager insisted his idea was a good one. I believe hitters need to be dedicated to who they are and how they are comfortable hitting. Pete Rose told me that all the time. So did Ted Williams when I had a memorable phone conversation with him. Those legends simply validated what I had always felt about hitting. (By the way, I will discuss that chat with Williams later in the book.)

Once my dad taught me to hit line drives and explained the wisdom of using the whole field, I was forever a disciple of that hitting approach. That became my style and that remained the style I was comfortable using. Because I was six feet four and 210 pounds, there were some people, including my manager Lou Piniella, who believed I should be more of a home-run hitter. But I really wasn’t a true home-run hitter. Didn’t you see me argue with Kramer about homers in that Seinfeld episode?

For me to hit a homer, my swing would have to start early to be out in front of the pitch and then I would need to make perfect and powerful contact and, most likely, pull the ball. That’s not who I was. I watch in awe as Aaron Judge uses his uppercut swing and bashes 450-foot homers. That’s who he is. Judge has stressed the importance of remaining anchored on his back hip because, if his lower body is under control, his head will remain still as he unleashes his swing. When Judge does that and executes his swing properly, he said it allows his bat path to get in the strike zone earlier and stay in the zone longer. That gives him a better chance to stay through pitches consistently and drive the ball to right routinely. Judge has described his bat path as being more like a Ferris wheel than a merry-go-round, meaning that his upper body and his swing tilt like a Ferris wheel and allow him to be quick to the ball and to elevate the ball. Sometimes, he won’t generate his best swing but is still able to produce enough power to hit a homer. I didn’t hit majestic shots like the very talented and very powerful Judge. I hit line drives—by choice. I wanted to put the ball in play.

Striking out was embarrassing to me, something that has changed in today’s game because it’s widely accepted for power hitters to whiff more than 200 times a year. In my career, I only exceeded 100 strikeouts three times, and my highest strikeout total was 107, a number that still irritates me. That’s too many empty at bats. Avoiding strikeouts and making contact requires making adjustments with two strikes, which doesn’t happen as often today. I see so many players still take their home-run swing with two strikes, which is one reason we see so many strikeouts. Obviously, the proliferation of flamethrowers—each team seemingly has about a half dozen pitchers who throw one hundred miles per hour—has a lot to do with all the strikeouts, too. But, especially as a young player, I always felt my job was to put the ball in play and to put pressure on the defense. I despised strikeouts and still do.

I will jump off my soapbox about the value of hitting line drives to concede there was one at bat, one amazingly important at bat, in which I wish one of my liners had soared a little higher. When the Yankees were down to our final out against Cleveland in Game 5 of the 1997 American League Division Series, I blasted a liner off of José Mesa, a pitcher I handled well with 9 hits in 11 at bats in my career, which includes the post-season. The ball rocketed to right field and I was pleading for it to leave the ballpark and tie the game. “Get higher,” I begged. “Get higher.” But it didn’t. The liner smacked about halfway up the fence. Another six feet higher, about the length of two baseball bats, and it would have been a game-tying homer. Because I hit the ball so hard, the right fielder retrieved it quickly and I had to hustle, scramble, and slide awkwardly on my right side to get into second and secure a double. That desperation dive into second earned me the nickname “the Warrior” from George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner.

Anyway, after my near miss, Mesa retired Bernie Williams and our season ended. If only my line drive swing had produced more of a fly ball in that spot, we might have won that game. I thought about that at bat for a few months, my off-season clouded by our lost opportunity to defend our 1996 title. The pain stayed, as did my affinity for hitting line drives.

It would have been so rewarding and so memorable to hit that ball slightly higher off Mesa and tie the game with a homer. But, as much as I’ve pondered that possibility and longed for that outcome over the years, I did everything I wanted to do in that at bat. I waited for a good pitch to hit and I ripped that ball on a line drive to right field. That’s who I was and that’s who I always wanted to be. Sometimes, the line drive falls short or doesn’t fall in at all. But that at bat is the type of at bat I aspired to have during my career, especially after I fought through my early self-doubts.

Back in 1985 with the Reds, I was still trying to prove myself, like I always did as the youngest child chasing around my four older brothers and one older sister. Those early major-league moments were thrilling, but no matter how successful I had been in the minor leagues, I couldn’t always suppress my doubts. Doubts about my swing, doubts about my abilities, doubts about whether I could hit against the best pitchers in the world. I gradually became more confident because I had a .285 average in more than 2,200 plate appearances in the minors and had continued to learn about my strengths as a hitter, but there’s nothing that matches the jump from Triple-A to the majors. Nothing is even close, because the pitchers are smarter, better, and more creative. I felt hopeful with each advancement from Single-A to Double-A to Triple-A. However, when I sauntered into a major-league clubhouse for the first time, I was numb and jittery. That promotion was everything I had worked to achieve since I was a five-year-old, but I didn’t walk in with swagger in my step. I tiptoed into the room like an extra who had a twenty-second scene in a two-hour movie.

As those doubts swirled inside my head, I felt more like a fan than an actual player on September 11, 1985. It was one of the most anticipated days in Cincinnati sports history, because Rose needed one more hit to break Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. On the previous night, he had gone 0 for 4. Reds fans were restless and growing more restless. I loved Pete Rose. I loved the way he hustled around the field, I loved his bravado, and I loved the way he willed himself to smack all those hits. Pretty much everyone in Cincinnati loved Pete, too, because he was a son of the city, a hometown grinder who was about to become the Hit King.

Pete was our player-manager, so he was my boss and my teammate, but I had had only a few brief conversations with him during spring training. At that moment, he was more of a poster on the bedroom wall to me than someone I knew intimately. I didn’t initiate much conversation with the players I considered my heroes because I was worried about saying too much or saying the wrong thing. Many times, silence was the best plan. If I had spoken extensively with Pete at that time, I would have told the switch-hitter how beautifully I mimicked his hunched over batting stance from the left side when I goofed around with my siblings.

That day was a blur of excitement for me, with everyone scrambling to get tickets to the game and television stations covering Rose’s pursuit with intensity usually reserved for an election night. I watched forty-four-year-old Pete closely, and he was his spirited self, fielding grounders at first base before taking some familiar swings in batting practice. He also spoke to the news media for about thirty minutes, something he did every day as the history-pursuing player-manager, and something that would have been unsettling for me.

When I was pummeling the baseball and batting .405 with the Yankees in mid-June of 1994, the questions about my quest for the elusive .400 plateau, which was last achieved by Williams in 1941, intensified. I didn’t enjoy the attention. Sometimes I would scowl as I sat by my locker, rest my forearms on my thighs, lean forward, and try to look unapproachable. I understood the reporters had a job to do and I respected that. Heck, my sister Molly was a reporter for The New York Times! But I never liked getting too in-depth before games, even telling some reporters, “Nothing I say to you is going to help me get a hit tonight.”

But talking about hitting never bothered Pete. He relished it. He was a hitter who enjoyed joking and sparring with anyone, a prolific singles hitter who always seemed prepared with a snappy response or a clever one-liner. Anyway, there were 47,237 pairs of eyes on Rose as he strolled to the plate in the first inning at Riverfront Stadium. I always admired how Pete looked extremely confident as a hitter—a hitter who dictated the at bat and who even looked cool as he took pitches. He would twist his neck toward the catcher and stare the baseball into the catcher’s glove, like an investigator looking for forensic evidence.

Eric Show, a workhorse right-hander who won 12 games and pitched 233 innings that season, was on the mound for the San Diego Padres. Pete took Show’s first pitch for a ball that was off the plate, then he fouled off a fastball, and backed away as the third pitch sailed inside. After each pitch, Pete stepped out of the batter’s box, spread the dirt with his cleats, or grabbed the handle of his black bat to get more pine tar on his batting gloves. Then, as flashbulbs popped and the fans chanted his name, Rose smacked a 2-1 slider into left-center field for a clean single. It was the record-breaking 4,192nd hit of his career, and fittingly, it was a typical Rose hit. Pete rounded first, clapped his hands, and the fans exploded. I stood in the first-base dugout, absolutely speechless.

All of a sudden, everyone emptied out of the dugout and dashed onto the field to swarm Pete. I didn’t know Pete nearly as well as my teammates did, but I was savvy enough to follow them and to be more than a mannequin. As everyone embraced Pete, I wasn’t sure what to do. Mostly, I just hovered around the edges of the crowd, acting like I belonged. I was fortunate enough to subsequently play on five World Series champions and play in three perfect games during my career, but that record-breaking moment will always be one of my top 10 baseball experiences. I had nothing to do with it, but it was so rewarding to witness history.

Just as I had maneuvered myself around the tangle of white-and-red uniformed bodies to possibly shake Pete’s hand, Pérez and Concepción lifted him over their shoulders and everyone screeched with delight. Marge Schott, the Reds’ owner, shuffled onto the field to hug Pete, and a gorgeous red Corvette with the license plate PR-4192 was driven through an outfield gate and delivered to Rose. Eventually, Pete Jr., Rose’s fifteen-year-old son, came onto the field in a Reds uniform with ROSE and 14 on the back and embraced his dad. For a few minutes, Pete stood near first base all by himself, the fireworks hailing, the confetti flying, and the cheering escalating.

“It was the only time in my life that I was on a baseball field,” Rose said, “and I didn’t know what the hell to do.”

I saw Pete stare up at the dark sky and wipe away a tear with his batting glove, and I figured he was paying homage to his father, which he acknowledged after the game. After seven minutes of endless adulation, during which a stone-faced Show sat on the mound for a while and waited, the game continued. And, in the biggest of footnotes, we won, 2-0. Pete, who also tripled for his 4,193rd hit, scored both runs. It wasn’t shocking for me to later find out that he turned to Schott during the celebration and said, “Let’s play ball. I want to score this run.” President Ronald Reagan called and congratulated Pete after the game, and in Pete’s true, sassy way, he told the most powerful man in the free world that he had missed seeing a good game.

Eight days earlier, Pete was actually congratulating me. Obviously, it wasn’t for a historic hit, but for being a September call-up to the Reds after hitting .305 with 7 homers and 74 runs batted in for the Triple-A Denver Zephyrs. When Pete spoke to me in the visiting manager’s office in St. Louis, he was sitting behind a desk and he was both casual and blunt. He stressed that the Reds were still clinging to their pennant hopes, as we were nine and a half games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, so I shouldn’t expect to play much. He told me to relax, watch what was happening, and learn through osmosis. Pete’s words calmed me because they allowed me to exhale and not instantly obsess about trying to hit major league pitchers.

But, of course, I watched Rose’s best-laid plans for me evaporate. On my first day as a Red, our game with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium included several pitching changes, and a pinch-hitting opportunity arose in the eighth inning.

“Grab a bat, kid!” Rose shouted.

Me? Wasn’t I supposed to just sit here and learn? I became very uneasy. I was nervous putting on my uniform for the first time and I was nervous taking batting practice for the first time. Now multiply that by about a thousand as I readied to face Jeff Lahti, a right-hander who threw hard sliders and harder fastballs, and who had pitched for the 1982 World Series champion Cardinals. It’s a cliché, but my heart was beating through my chest as I picked up a bat and officially became a major leaguer.

Everything happened so fast. I don’t remember walking to the plate or digging into the box. In the blink of an eye, I swung at a first-pitch fastball and lined a shot to right-center field. I was fortunate that Lahti threw me a fastball. As a very anxious hitter, I probably would have swung at a curveball that bounced five feet in front of the plate. It was just a quick, reflexive action to see a fastball for the first pitch I had ever seen in the majors and to connect with it for a hit. Honestly, it was a relief. An utter relief.

My legs felt wobbly as I ran to first base, almost as if I were dragging them along with the rest of my body. Because my legs felt like Jell-O for those few seconds, I didn’t even try to sprint for second. I think I turned a double into a single, but I was OK with that. I had my first hit. I wasn’t about to ruin the moment by running into an out at second.

We lost the game, but my mission was to rush back to the hotel so I could call my parents and tell them all the details about my first hit. These days, a player could simply use his cell phone to call from the clubhouse or the team bus, but I had to wait to use the hotel phone and the wait was excruciating. I wanted to shout or scream or maybe even cry, but that wouldn’t have looked cool around my teammates. Impatiently, I waited.

Finally, about ninety minutes after the game had ended, I burst into my hotel room, punched numbers into the phone, and called home. My father answered. I was just about to tell him everything that happened and tell him how I hit a line drive the way that he had always taught me, when he said, “We saw it! Congratulations.” I didn’t realize the game had been televised, so my mother and father saw my single, saw me stop at first base and try not to crack a smile, and even heard Joe Morgan, the Hall-of-Fame second baseman and television analyst, comment on my first hit. It was as joyful and as relieved as I’d ever felt on a baseball field.

Interestingly, Lahti later said he understood the feeling of being anchored on first base after a hit: “He worked his butt off his whole life to get where he wanted and then you want to run and you can’t,” Lahti said. “My first base hit came against the Mets in New York. I pulled a sharp shot down the line that hit off the wall, except I ended up with a single because I stood at home plate and thought, ‘I hit it.’”

After my call-up in 1985, I still spent more time at Triple A in 1986 before hitting .256 with a .488 slugging percentage in 84 games with the Reds in 1987 and feeling like I belonged in the majors. But even as I made progress and was told I would be a central part of the Reds’ future, I still had doubts I would ever be good enough to be a competent big-league hitter. Many nights, I put my head on the pillow and reviewed at bats.

Whenever I struggled in the minors, it was a reminder that hitting .500 in high school is dramatically different than playing professionally. In an instant, I had a high school diploma on the wall and a $35,000 signing bonus from the Reds (and the powder blue Firebird I bought with the money), and I was surrounded by players who were as good or better than me. I studied all those players, watching their swings and their approaches, and because it’s human nature, evaluating myself against them. Am I as good as Player X or Player Y?

The minor leagues were challenging because the competition was way better than what I was accustomed to, because I wasn’t used to being away from home for that long, and because of the sheer number of games that I was playing. I played about 20 games a year in high school in the chilly climate of Ohio. Then I got drafted in the third round, and I was playing in more than 60 games in my first year in Rookie League ball, then close to 140 games a year after that. Even if my statistics ended up being acceptable to me, there were so many ups and downs along the way to get to that .300 average. I knew how to focus on baseball. But on some of those long bus trips, I did wonder about the family barbecues and birthday parties I was missing back home. Still, as much as I had some dreary and doubting periods, I never lost sight of the ultimate goal of playing in the majors. That was my obsession.

Rose had an obsession with hitting, which meshed nicely with my personality. Like Pete, I thought about hitting all day long. As improbable as it seems, I believed I could and should get a hit in every plate appearance. That’s insane. But it’s the way I felt, and that competitive desire drove me. Of course, I knew Pete was the same way, and that’s why I enjoyed talking with him and learning from him.

Pete worked with me on the mental side of the game by keeping things simple and telling me I needed to stay out of my own way. By that, he meant that I had a tendency to overthink things, and at that time, he was right. I always treated every at bat intensely, but as I was trying to claw my way into the majors, I was even more desperate. Baseball was supposed to be my livelihood. I didn’t have much of a backup plan.

If I had a good game with a couple of hits, Pete would constantly remind me to maintain that positive feeling and that belief in myself. Pete was a career .303 hitter who was fanatical about hitting above .300, which he did in fifteen different seasons, so he spoke my language. I know that baseball perspectives have been modified, and I know that on-base percentage is considered a better way to evaluate a hitter’s contributions because it recognizes all of a batter’s plate appearances. That’s logical, and that’s what Gene “Stick” Michael, the Yankees’ general manager who had traded for me, used to espouse. He would stare at a stat sheet and circle the number of hits and walks that a player had. But I broke into the majors at a time when having solid at bats, putting the ball in play, and yes, hitting .300, were my goals. Today, many hitters would rather go 1 for 4 with a homer than go 3 for 4 with 3 singles and 1 RBI. I would still take the 3 singles.

And, if I were compiling a lineup, I would still prefer a balanced one that has a mixture of contact hitters and power hitters, like the lineups we had with the late ’90s Yankees. I’ve never been a supporter of all-or-nothing lineups that feature all power hitters, because I think pitchers can get comfortable against the same type of hitters and can collect lots of swings and misses.

Anyway, as for Pete’s advice, his words may have sounded simple, but those words resonated with me because they came from an outstanding hitter.

“Listen, here’s my philosophy on hitting,” Rose said. “Everyone who is a hitter has an expertise. Just go out and do the things you do well and do them on a consistent basis. If you can’t run, don’t try to steal bases. If you can’t hit home runs, don’t try to swing from your ass. Everybody has something they can do.”

More than anything, Pete understood me as a hitter.


  • “I’ve always known how superb and how prepared Paul O’Neill was as a hitter. After reading SWING AND A HIT now I know all of O’Neill’s secrets and sacrifices and everything that helped make him such a splendid hitter. With every page I read, it was evident how Paul obsessed over the art of hitting and how he learned from some of the game’s best hitters. I loved competing with and against Paul. I loved this book just as much.”—David Cone, Five-Time World Series Champion, Cy Young Award Winner and baseball announcer for The Yes Network and ESPN
  • “Paul O’Neill’s passion to get a hit was obvious every time he stepped in the batter’s box. He was a fierce competitor who never thought he should make an out. And, in SWING AND A HIT, Paul intimately describes the journey that led to him being such a special hitter. This book is as entertaining and illuminating as one of O’Neill’s feisty at bats. Add another hit to O’Neill’s stats.” —Buck Showalter, Manager of The New York Mets, former manager of the N.Y. Yankees and three-time Manager of The Year.
  • “Paul O’Neill is so much more than “the warrior.” He is a baseball savant and an incredible student of the game. He and Jack Curry peel away the layers of the five-time world champion in this riveting read. I’ve known Paul for 30 years and I came away knowing much more about hitting and about him than before I picked up this fascinating read.” —Michael Kay, Yankees’ Play-By-Play announcer for the Yes Network.
  • “Paul O’Neill is one of my all-time favorite teammates. I loved his approach to the game, his passion, his commitment, and his relentless competitive spirit. Paul’s work ethic was unmatched. As a hitter, he was never satisfied. If you want insight into one of my favorite players, read SWING AND A HIT. I guarantee it won’t disappoint.”—Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins’ manager and former Yankees' captain
  • "Paul had an incomparable combination of being the fiercest competitor on the field, and the nicest, most affable guy off the field. It was like there were two completely different people. His success story began long before he became my teammate. SWING AND A HIT tells that story…and, yes – it is a hit! What else would you expect from Paul O’Neill?"—Bernie Williams, Yankees’ center fielder and four-time World Series champion.
  • "This is a book for baseball fans, many of whom will enjoy O’Neill’s unique insights on some of the greatest hitters of all time.”—Library Journal

On Sale
May 24, 2022
Page Count
272 pages

Paul O’Neill

About the Author

Paul Andrew O’Neill played seventeen seasons in the major leagues. He played for the Cincinnati Reds (1985–1992) and the New York Yankees (1993–2001). O’Neill accumulated 281 home runs, 1,269 runs batted in, 2,107 hits, and a lifetime batting average of .288. He won the American League batting title in 1994 with a .359 average. He was a five-time World Series champion and a five-time all-star. After retiring from playing baseball, O’Neill became a broadcaster for the Yankees on the YES Network. He currently works on the network as a game analyst.
Jack Curry is an award-winning sports journalist who is an analyst on the Yankees’ pregame and postgame shows on the YES Network, where he has worked since 2010. He has won six New York Emmy Awards. Before joining YES, he covered baseball for twenty seasons at the New York Times, first as a Yankees’ beat writer and then as a national baseball correspondent. Curry is the author ofThe 1998 Yankees and coauthor of the bestsellers, Full Count with David Cone and The Life You Imagine with Derek Jeter. He currently lives in New Jersey. 


Learn more about this author

Jack Curry

About the Author

Jack Curry is an award-winning sports journalist who is an analyst on the Yankees’ pregame and postgame shows on the YES Network, where he has worked since 2010. He has won five New York Emmy Awards. Before joining YES, he covered baseball for twenty seasons at TheNew York Times, first as a Yankees’ beat writer and then as a national baseball correspondent. Curry is also the coauthor of two New York Times bestsellers: Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher with David Cone and The Life You Imagine with Derek Jeter. He currently lives in New Jersey.

Learn more about this author