Dave Winfield

Position: Outfielder
Teams: San Diego Padres, 1973-1980; New York Yankees, 1981-1990; California Angels, 1990-1991; Toronto Blue Jays, 1992; Minnesota Twins, 1993-1994; Cleveland Indians, 1995

Dave Winfield
Dave Winfield finished his career with
3,110 hits, 540 doubles, 465 homers,
and 223 stolen bases.

Some sports authorities believe that Dave Winfield could have been a star in any of three professional sports: baseball, basketball, or football. Following an outstanding prep career in St. Paul, Minne­sota, Winfield (born 1951) attended the University of Minnesota and excelled in both basketball and baseball. After being drafted by NFL, NBA, and MLB teams, he chose baseball and walked right from campus onto the San Diego Padres roster in spring 1973. He never played a game in the minor leagues.

The moribund Padres welcomed Winfield with open arms. At 6' 6" and 220 pounds, he had power, speed, and grace, manning the outfield with aplomb and hitting for power and average despite playing in a poor hitter's park. He was an All-Star for the first of 12 consecutive seasons in 1977, won two Gold Gloves, and in 1979 finished third in MVP voting (for a 68-93 club) with a 34-homer, .308 campaign.

On those terrible Padres teams, Winfield managed to look good even dressed in ugly brown and yellow uniforms. He didn't have the public charisma of other 1970s superstars, such as Reggie Jackson or Pete Rose, but Winfield was an all-around player who worked hard at his craft.

Following the 1980 season, Dave decided to take a free-agent offer from the Yankees, beginning a turbulent nine-plus years in the Apple. Expected to provide the same spark as "Mr. October," Reggie Jackson, Winfield instead received a derogatory "Mr. May" appellation from New York owner George Steinbrenner, who later would pay an informant for "dirt" on Winfield (and receive a suspension from baseball for doing so).

Winfield was a productive hitter for New York, with six 100-RBI seasons, but he made the postseason only once due to a mediocre supporting cast. Following a terrific 1988 season (.322, 25 homers, 107 RBI), Winfield battled serious back problems. He missed all of 1989, and in early 1990 he was dealt to the Angels.

At age 39, Winfield began the "itinerant laborer" phase of his career. He moved from the Angels to the Blue Jays to the Twins to the Indians from 1991 through 1995. He played in the 1992 World Series for Toronto, delivering the game-winning hit in the decisive Game 6 at Atlanta. The next season, while playing for his hometown Twins, he collected his 3,000th hit.

Despite leading the league only once in a significant offensive category (RBI in 1979), Winfield was a productive two-way player for a long time. Finishing with 3,110 hits, 540 doubles, 465 homers, and 223 stolen bases, Winfield was elected to the Hall in 2001. Color and flash were not his hallmarks; consistency and longevity were.

Here are Dave Winfield's major league totals:


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