Dave Winfield

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Dave Winfield
Winfield at his Hall of Fame induction in 2001
Right fielder
Born: (1951-10-03) October 3, 1951 (age 67)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
June 19, 1973, for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1995, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average .283
Hits 3,110
Home runs 465
Runs batted in 1,833
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 2001
Vote84.5% (first ballot)

David Mark Winfield (born October 3, 1951) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder. He is the special assistant to the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. [1] Over his 22-year career, he played for six teams: the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Indians. He had the winning hit in the 1992 World Series with the Blue Jays over the Atlanta Braves.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the major league clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Right fielder the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field

A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the right fielder is assigned the number 9.

Major League Baseball Players Association

The Major League Baseball Players Association is the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball players. All players, managers, coaches, and athletic trainers who hold or have held a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the Association.


Winfield is a 12-time MLB All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a six-time Silver Slugger Award winner. The Padres retired No. 31, Winfield's uniform number, in his honor. He also wore No. 31 while playing for the Yankees and Indians and wore No. 32 with the Angels, Blue Jays and Twins. In 2004, ESPN named him the third-best all-around athlete of all time in any sport. [2] He is a member of both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Major League Baseball All-Star Game exhibition game played by Major League Baseball players representing each league

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual professional baseball game sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between the All-Stars from the American League (AL) and National League (NL), currently selected by fans for starting fielders, by managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves.

Silver Slugger Award baseball award given to the best hitter at each position in each league in Major League Baseball

The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball. These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.

ESPN is a U.S.-based pay television sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company (80%) and Hearst Communications (20%). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.

Youth and amateur career

Winfield grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. His parents divorced when he was three years old, leaving him and his older brother Stephen to be raised by their mother, Arline, and a large extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. [3] The Winfield brothers honed their athletic skills in St. Paul's Oxford playground, where coach Bill Peterson was one of the first to notice Winfield. Winfield did not become a formidable 6'6" athlete until his senior year at Saint Paul Central High School. [3] [ clarification needed ]

Saint Paul Central High School Public school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

Central High School of Saint Paul is the oldest high school in the state of Minnesota, United States. Founded in 1866 in downtown Saint Paul, Central has educated many leaders in business, government, literature, arts, sciences, and education throughout the state of Minnesota and the United States. Central also has more Rhodes Scholars among its alumni than any other public high school in the U.S., with the most recent scholar, Matthew Landreman, being announced in 2003.

He earned a full baseball scholarship to the University of Minnesota in 1969, where he starred in baseball and basketball for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Winfield's 1972 Minnesota team won a Big Ten Conference basketball championship, the school's first sole outright championship in 53 years. During the 1972 season, he also was involved in a brawl when Minnesota played Ohio State. [4]

University of Minnesota public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

The University of Minnesota is a public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) apart, and the St. Paul campus is actually in neighboring Falcon Heights. It is the oldest and largest campus within the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 50,943 students in 2018-19. It is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota System, and is organized into 19 colleges and schools, with sister campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.

Baseball team sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing it to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Basketball Team sport

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Winfield also played for the Alaska Goldpanners for two seasons (1971–72) and was the MVP in 1972. In 1973, he was named All-American and voted MVP of the College World Series—as a pitcher. Following college, Winfield was drafted by four teams in three different sports. The San Diego Padres selected him as a pitcher with the fourth overall pick in the MLB draft and both the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Utah Stars (ABA) drafted him. [5] [6] Though he never played college football, the Minnesota Vikings selected Winfield in the 17th round of the NFL draft. He is one of six players ever to be drafted by three professional sports (the others being George Carter, Jo Jo White, Noel Jenke, Mickey McCarty and Dave Logan) and one of three athletes along with Carter and McCarty to be drafted by four leagues. [7]

Atlanta Hawks American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at State Farm Arena.

Utah Stars basketball team

The Utah Stars were an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

College football Collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by colleges and universities

College football is gridiron football consisting of American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Professional career

Winfiled, circa 1977 Dave Winfield - San Diego Padres.jpg
Winfiled, circa 1977

San Diego Padres: 1973–1980

Winfield chose baseball; the San Diego Padres selected him in the first round, with the fourth overall selection, of the 1973 MLB draft. Winfield signed with the Padres, who promoted him directly to the major leagues. Although he was a pitcher, the Padres wanted his powerful bat in the lineup and put him in right field, where he could still use his "rifle arm." He batted .277 in 56 games his first season.

San Diego Padres Baseball Team and Major League Baseball franchise in San Diego, California, United States

The San Diego Padres are an American professional baseball team based in San Diego, California. The Padres compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won two NL pennants — in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both years. As of 2018, they have had 14 winning seasons in franchise history. The Padres are one of two Major League Baseball teams in California to originate from that state; the Athletics were originally from Philadelphia, and the Dodgers and Giants are originally from two New York City boroughs – Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively. The Padres are the only MLB team that does not share its city with another franchise in the four major American professional sports leagues. The Padres are the only major professional sports franchise to be located in San Diego, following the relocation of the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017. They are also the only franchise in the MLB not to have a no-hitter, having gone 8020 games without throwing one, a major league record to begin a franchise.

Batting average (baseball)

In baseball, the batting average (BA) is the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually rounded to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken beyond the .001 measurement. In this context, .001 is considered a "point," such that a .235 batter is 5 points higher than a .230 batter.

Over the next several years, he developed into an All-Star player in San Diego, gradually increasing his power and hits totals. In 1977, he appeared in his first All-Star game at New York's Yankee Stadium and he burst into national stardom. In 1978, he was named Padres team captain and in 1979, he batted .308 with 34 home runs and 118 RBI. He played one more season with the Padres before becoming a free agent.

New York Yankees: 1981–1990

In 1981, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner made Winfield the game's highest-paid player by signing him to a ten-year, $23 million contract. Steinbrenner mistakenly thought he was signing Winfield for $16 million, [8] a misunderstanding that led to an infamous public feud. [9]

Winfield was among the highest rated players in the game throughout his Yankee contract. He was a key factor in leading the Yankees to the 1981 American League pennant, but then had a sub-par World Series, which the Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. After getting his only series hit, Winfield jokingly asked for the ball. [10] Steinbrenner did not find this humorous, and criticized Winfield at the end of the series. Many commentators have since noted that Winfield's post-season doldrums were somewhat overstated when compared to those of his teammates. In the exciting 1981 American League Division Series, Winfield batted .350 with two doubles and a triple and made some important defensive plays helping the Yankees to victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Four of his seven hits came in games won by the Yankees. The team's offense for the most part was inconsistent, and they were also set back by key injuries to Reggie Jackson and Graig Nettles.

Winfield in 1983 Spring training. Winfieldspring.jpg
Winfield in 1983 Spring training.

Winfield did not let Steinbrenner's antics affect his play. He hit 37 home runs in a spectacular 1982 season. On August 4, 1983, Winfield killed a seagull by throwing a ball while warming up before the fifth inning of a game at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium. [11] Fans responded by hurling obscenities and improvised missiles. After the game, he was brought to the Ontario Provincial Police station and charged with cruelty to animals. He was released after posting a $500 bond. Yankee manager Billy Martin quipped, "It's the first time he's hit the cutoff man all season." [11] Charges were dropped the following day. [12] In the offseason, Winfield returned to Toronto and donated two paintings for an Easter Seals auction, which raised over $60,000. [3] [13] For years afterward, Winfield's appearances in Toronto were greeted by fans standing and flapping their arms—until he became a fan favorite when he joined the Blue Jays in 1992.

From 1981 through 1984, Winfield was the most effective run producer in MLB. [14] In 1984, he and teammate Don Mattingly were in a memorable race for the batting title [15] in which Mattingly won out by .003 points on the last day of the season; Winfield finished with a .340 average. In the last few weeks of the race, it became obvious to most observers that the fans were partial to Mattingly. [16] Winfield took this in stride noting that a similar thing happened in 1961 when Mantle and Maris competed for the single season home run record. [17]

In 1985, Steinbrenner derided Winfield by saying to New York Times writer Murray Chass, "Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May.". [18] This criticism has become somewhat of an anachronism as many cite the statement to Steinbrenner after the 1981 World Series. Winfield was struggling while the Yankees eventually lost a pennant to Toronto on the second to last day of the season. [18] The Mr. May sobriquet lived with Winfield until he won the 1992 World Series with Toronto. [19]

Throughout the late '80s, Steinbrenner regularly leaked derogatory and fictitious stories about Winfield to the press. [20] He also forced Yankee managers to move him down in the batting order and bench him. Steinbrenner frequently tried to trade him, but Winfield's status as a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the majors, 5 years with a single team) meant he could not be traded without his consent. Winfield continued to put up excellent numbers with the Yankees, driving in 744 runs between 1982 and 1988, and was selected to play in the All-Star Game every season. Winfield won five (of his seven) Gold Glove Awards for his stellar outfield play as a Yankee.

In 1989, Winfield missed the entire season due to a back injury. [21] In 1990, the feud between Steinbrenner and Winfield had escalated to the point where Steinbrenner was "banned for life" from running the Yankees because of his connections to Howard Spira, a known gambler with supposed Mafia connections, whom he had paid $40,000 for embarrassing information on Winfield. [22] However, the suspension lasted only two years. Winfield was traded mid-season to the California Angels. [21]

1990–1991: California Angels

Winfield was traded for Mike Witt during the 1990 season and won the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award. [23] He hit for the cycle in June 1991 against the Kansas City Royals, hitting 5 for 5 in the game. [24] He also recorded his 400th home run against the Twins in his hometown. [25]

1992: World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays

Winfield was still a productive hitter after his 40th birthday. On December 19, 1991, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as their designated hitter, and also made "Winfieldian" plays when he periodically took his familiar position in right field. He batted .290 with 26 home runs and 108 RBI during the 1992 season.

Winfield proved to be a lightning rod for the Blue Jays, providing leadership and experience as well as his potent bat. Winfield was a fan favorite and also demanded fan participation. In August 1992 he made an impassioned plea to the reserved fans during an interview for more crowd noise. The phrase "Winfield Wants Noise" became a popular slogan for the rest of the season, appearing on T-shirts, dolls, buttons, and signs.

The Blue Jays won the pennant, giving Winfield a chance at redemption for his previous post-season futility. In Game 6 of the World Series, he became "Mr. Jay" [19] as he delivered the game-winning two-run double in the 11th inning off Atlanta's Charlie Leibrandt to win the World Series Championship for Toronto. At 41 years of age, Winfield became the third-oldest player to hit an extra base hit in the World Series, trailing only Pete Rose and Enos Slaughter. [26]

1993–1995: Winfield for dinner

After the 1992 season, Winfield was granted free agency and signed with his hometown Minnesota Twins, where he continued to perform at a high level of play despite advancing age. He batted .271 with 21 home runs, appearing in 143 games for the 1993 Twins, mostly as their designated hitter. On September 16, 1993, at age 41, he collected his 3,000th career hit with a single off Oakland Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley. [27]

During the 1994 baseball strike, which began on August 12, Winfield was traded to the Cleveland Indians at the trade waiver deadline on August 31 for a player to be named later. The 1994 season had been halted two weeks earlier (it was eventually canceled a month later on September 14), so Winfield did not get to play for the Indians that year and no player was ever named in exchange. To settle the trade, Cleveland and Minnesota executives went to dinner, with the Indians picking up the tab. This makes Winfield the only player in major league history to be "traded" for a dinner (though official sources list the transaction as Winfield having been sold by the Minnesota Twins to the Cleveland Indians). [28]

Winfield, who was now the oldest MLB player, was again granted free agency in October but re-signed with the Indians as spring training began in April 1995. A rotator cuff injury kept him on the disabled list for most of the season; thus he played in only 46 games and hit .191 for Cleveland's first pennant winner in 41 years. He did not participate in the Indians' postseason.

Honors and awards

Padres Retired Number 31.png
Dave Winfield's number 31 was retired by the San Diego Padres in 2001.

Winfield retired in 1996 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, in his first year of eligibility. He was the first San Diego Padre player inducted into Cooperstown [29] —a move that reportedly irked Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner. Nonetheless, when he was inducted Winfield sounded a conciliatory note toward Steinbrenner: [30] [31]

He's said he regrets a lot of things that happened. We’re fine now. Things have changed.

In 1998, Winfield was inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame [32] honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface. [33]

In 1999, Winfield ranked number 94 on The Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Players, [34] and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

He was inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in 2000. [35] The Padres retired Winfield's No. 31 on April 14, 2001. [36]

On July 4, 2006, Winfield was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class.

In 2010, Winfield was voted All-Time Left Fielder in the National Sports Review poll [37] and selected as one of 28 members of the NCAA Men's College World Series Legends Team. [38]

The Big Ten Network named Winfield its #15 ranked Big Ten Conference "Icon" in 2010. [39]

The 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played at Petco Park in San Diego, was dedicated to Winfield. He had represented the Padres at the first All-Star Game to be played in San Diego.

Life since retirement

Dave Winfield in 2006. DaveWinfieldByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Dave Winfield in 2006.

In 1996, Winfield joined the new Major League Baseball on Fox program as studio analyst for their Saturday MLB coverage.

From 2001 to 2013, Winfield served as executive vice president/senior advisor of the San Diego Padres.

In 2006, Winfield teamed up with conductor Bob Thompson to create The Baseball Music Project, a series of concerts that celebrate the history of baseball, with Winfield serving as host and narrator. [40]

In 2008, Winfield participated in both the final Old Timer's Day ceremony and Final game ceremony at Yankee Stadium. [41]

On June 5, 2008, Major League Baseball held a special draft of the surviving Negro League players to acknowledge and rectify their exclusion from the major leagues on the basis of race. The idea of the special draft was conceived by Winfield. Each major league team drafted one player from the Negro Leagues. [42]

On March 31, 2009, Winfield joined ESPN as an analyst on their Baseball Tonight program. [43]

On December 5, 2013, Winfield was named special assistant to Executive Director Tony Clark at the Major League Baseball Players Association. [44]

On July 14, 2014, Winfield returned to Minnesota to throw out the first pitch at the 2014 Home Run Derby along with fellow St. Paul natives Joe Mauer, Paul Molitor, and Jack Morris. [45]

In March 2016, Winfield helped represent Major League Baseball in Cuba during President Obama's trip to the island in an attempt to help normalize relations. On March 21 he gave a press conference with Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, and Luis Tiant in Havana and attended the baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuba National Team the next day.

Winfield resides in California with his wife Tonya, and three children, Shanel and twins David II and Arielle.

The David M. Winfield Foundation

Well known for his philanthropic work, Winfield began giving back to the communities in which he played from the beginning of his professional athletic career. In 1973, his first year with the Padres, he began buying blocks of tickets to Padres games for families who couldn't afford to go to games, in a program known as "pavilions." Winfield then added health clinics to the equation, by partnering with San Diego's Scripps Clinic who had a mobile clinic which was brought into the stadium parking lot. [46] When Winfield joined the Toronto Blue Jays, he learned teammate David Wells was one of the "Winfield kids" who attended Padres games. [47]

In his hometown of St. Paul, he began a scholarship program (which continues to this day). In 1977, he organized his efforts into an official 501(c)(3) charitable organization, known as the David M. Winfield Foundation for Underprivileged Youth, the first active athlete to do so. [46]

As his salary increased, Foundation programs expanded to include holiday dinner giveaways and national scholarships. In 1978, San Diego hosted the All-Star game, and Winfield bought his usual block of pavilion tickets. Winfield then went on a local radio station and inadvertently invited "all the kids of San Diego" to attend. To accommodate the unexpected crowd, the Foundation brought the kids into batting practice. The All-Star open-practice has since been adopted by Major League Baseball and continues to this day. [3]

When Winfield joined the New York Yankees, he set aside $3 million of his contract for the Winfield Foundation. He funded The Dave Winfield Nutrition Center at Hackensack University Medical Center near his Teaneck, New Jersey home. The Foundation also partnered with Merck Pharmaceuticals and created an internationally acclaimed bilingual substance abuse prevention program called "Turn it Around". [47]

Winfield with Derek Jeter at Dodger Stadium, June 2010. Derek Jeter and Dave Winfield.jpg
Winfield with Derek Jeter at Dodger Stadium, June 2010.

The Winfield Foundation also became a bone of contention in Steinbrenner's public feud with Winfield. Steinbrenner alleged that the foundation was mishandling funds and often held back payments to the organization, which resulted in long, costly court battles. It also created the appearance that Steinbrenner was contributing to the foundation, when in actuality, Steinbrenner was holding back a portion of Winfield's salary. Ultimately, the foundation received all of its funding and the alleged improprieties proved unfounded.

Winfield's philanthropic endeavors had as much influence on many of MLB's players as his on-field play. Yankee Derek Jeter, who grew up idolizing Winfield for both his athleticism and humanitarianism, credits Winfield as the inspiration for his own Turn 2 Foundation. [48] In turn, Winfield continues to help raise funds and awareness for Jeter's Foundation and for many other groups and causes throughout the country.


See also

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Further reading