David Mark Winfield
Born: Oct. 3, 1951 in St. Paul, Minn.
Debut: 1973 | Pos: OF
H: 6'6" | W: 220 | B: R | T: R
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Dave Winfield biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Dave Winfield seemed to
be destined for baseball greatness from birth. He came into the world on
the day that Bobby Thomson hit the famed "Shot
heard 'round the World."
Winfield was an imposing
man when he was standing in the batter's box looking into the eyes of a
pitcher. Off the field, he had the personality to be a goodwill ambassador
for the game despite some unfortunate incidents. In 2001, he will join
the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
A standout college athlete,
Winfield was a pitcher and outfielder. He was named MVP of Minnesota's
team which won the 1973 College World Series. Winfield was drafted fourth
overall by the San Diego Padres in the 1973 amateur draft. The Padres'
pick followed the selections of David Clyde, John Stearns and future Hall
of Famer Robin Yount.
That wasn't the only professional
opportunity Winfield had. He was draved by the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and
the ABA's Utah Stars. The Minnesota Vikings also picked Winfield in the
NFL draft despite the fact Winfield didn't play college football. To this
day, he is the only athlete to ever be drafted by three major sports.
By the time he retired from
baseball, Winfield was in the Top 20 all-time for hits, runs batted in,
games, at-bats, doubles and total bases. His career numbers total 3,100
hits, 465 home runs, 223 stolen bases and a .283 career batting average.
Only four players have more hits and more home runs combined than Winfield.
Winfield's play earned praise
and respect from those he faced.
"He was the type of guy a
third baseman didn't want to see coming up with the tying run on third
base and two outs, because he could hit some of the wickedest ball," said
George Brett, a Hall of Famer.
Winfield spent much of his
career with the New York Yankees, but was never accepted as a star of the
team. Fans seemed to want Winfield to lead the team in the way Ruth, DiMaggio
and Mantle had done. However, Winfield's career in New York seemed to parallel
that of the other Yankees' slugger, Roger Maris. Often misunderstood and
not appreciated by the fans, Winfield hit 263 home runs as a Yankee - ironically
the same as Roger Maris.
His time with the Yankees
was marked by an ongoing feud with George Steinbrenner and a continuing
battle with the media.
The career timeline for Dave
1973 -- Two weeks after
his selection in the baseball draft, Winfield took the field for the Major
League club. Walking straight into professional baseball from his collegiate
team, Winfield appeared in 56 games, hitting .277 with 3 home runs and
12 RBI in 141 at-bats.
1974 - San Diego (.264,
20 HR, 75 RBI 9 SB).
1975 - San Diego (.267,
15 HR, 76 RBI, 23 SB)
1976 - San Diego (.283,
13 HR, 69 RBI, 26 SB).
1977 - San Diego (.275,
25 HR, 92 RBI, 16 SB)
1978 - San Diego (.308,
24 HR, 97 RBI, 21 SB)
1979 - San Diego (.308,
34 HR, 118 RBI, 15 SB) Winfield's 118 RBIs and 333 total bases are enough
to lead the National League.
1980 - San Diego (.276,
20 HR, 87 RBI, 23 SB)
1981 - Yankees (.294,
13 HR, 68 RBI, 11 SB) In December 1979, Winfield signs with the New York
Yankees as a free agent. Things get off to a bad start with
the Yankees when George Steinbrenner realizes that Winfield's contract
would cost him $23 million over 10 years instead of $16 million -- thanks
to the cost of living increases. The season began with a 10-week players strike. Once play resumed, Winfield helped to get the
Yankees to the World Series, but feel into a slump when he got there. Winfield started out 0 for 15 and collected one hit
and one RBI in the 6-game series loss to the Dodgers. Steinbrenner dubbed Winfield "Mr. May."
1982 - Yankees (.280,
37 HR, 105 RBI, 5 SB) Winfield wins the first of four consecutive Gold
Gloves in the American League. He won two Gold Gloves in the National Leagues.
1983 - Yankees (.283,
32 HR, 116 RBI, 15 SB) Winfield's 32 home runs led the American League.
In one of the stranger baseball moments, Winfield drew criticism from Canadians
and environmental groups after he beaned and killed a seagull between innings
in a game in Toronto. Steinbrenner and Winfield continued to argue over
payments to Winfield's charitable foundation.
1984 - Yankees (.340,
19 HR, 100 RBI, 6 SB) Following the 1983 season, Steinbrenner contended
that Winfield could not hit for average. Winfield shortened his swing and
battled teammate Don Mattingly for the AL batting title for much of the
season before Mattingly won it on the season's final day. Mattingly finished
with .343. During the final game, Winfield was booed by Yankees' fans for
attempting to beat fan-favorite Mattingly.
1985 - Yankees (.275,
26 HR, 114 RBI, 19 SB)
1986 - Yankees (.264,
24 HR, 104 RBI, 6 SB) Winfield became the first Yankees since Joe DiMaggio
to drive in 100 runs in five consecutive seasons.
1987 - Yankees (.275,
27 HR, 97 RBI, 5 SB)
1988 - Yankees (.322,
25 HR, 107 RBI, 9 SB)
1989 - Winfield missed
the entire season after suffering a back injury that required surgery.
1990 - Yankees (.213,
2 HR, 6 RBI in 20 game), traded to California (.275, 19 HR, 72 RBI)
After a slow start in his return from injury, Winfield was sent to the
Angels for starting pitcher Mike Witt. Witt was expected to lead the Yankees'
pitching staff, but he was nearing the end of his career. Winfield, however,
hit 47 home runs over his two seasons with the Angels.
1991 - California (.262,
28 HR, 86 RBI, 7 SB)
1992 - Toronto (.290,
26 HR, 109 RBI, 2 SB) Winfield signed with the Blue Jays and returned to
the city that was the site of his famed seagull incident. In the ALCS,
Winfield hits 2 HR against Oakland. In the World Series, he has 5 hits
in 22 at-bats with 3 RBI. At 42, Winfield becomes the oldest player to
hit a home run in the World Series. His 11th inning double in Game 6 of
the series finished off Atlanta and gave the Blue Jays the Championship.
Earlier in the game, in the 8th inning, Winfield make a sliding catch of
a ball hit by Ron Gant.
1993 - Minnesota (.271,
21 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB) On September 6, Winfield collects his 3,000th hit.
His RBI single brings fellow 2001 HOF inductee Kirby
Puckett across the plate. Winfield's 21 home runs set the season record
for players over the age of 40.
1994 - Minnesota (.252.
10 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB)
1995 - Cleveland (.191,
2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB in 43 games, suffered a shoulder injury) Winfield retires
are 23 seasons with 3,110 hits.
2001 - In his first year
of eligibility, Winfield is elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.
Sources: CBS Sportsline, The
Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball 2000, 20th Century Baseball Chronicle, Baseball
Hall of Fame