Thursday, July 30, 2009

1976 Topps #160 - Dave Winfield

  • Dave Winfield had a lot of accomplishements in his career: twelve straight All-Star games (1977-1988); seven Gold Gloves; six Silver Sluggers; 3110 career hits; 465 career home runs; elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001.
  • Winfield was the fourth pick in the 1973 draft by the San Diego Padres. The players taken ahead of him were David Clyde, John Stearns, and Robin Yount. Dave immediately started with the Padres and never played in the minor leagues. He batted .277 in 56 games in 1973. Winfield was also drafted by the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, and the ABA's Utah Stars.
  • Dave steadily improved his skills from 1974-1976. He batted in the .265-.285 range with double-figure home run and stolen base totals. Winfield's first All-Star year was 1977, when he batted .275 with 25 homers and 92 RBI. He improved to .308 with 24 homers and 97 RBI in 1978. Winfield's biggest year with San Diego was 1979 -- he batted .308 with 34 HR and a league-leading 118 RBI. He finished third in MVP balloting in '79. Dave had a bit of a drop-off in 1980 (.276, 20 HR, 87 RBI) but that didn't diminsh his value in the free-agent market.
  • Before the 1981 season Winfield signed a 10-year, $23 million contract with the New York Yankees. George Steinbrenner mistakenly thought he was signing Dave for $16 million, which helped lead to a bitter feud between the two. Winfield batted .294 with 13 homers and 68 RBI in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He did well in the divisional series against Milwaukee (.350 in 20 AB), but struggled in the ALCS against Oakland (.154 in 13 AB). He also had a poor World Series against the LA Dodgers (.045 with one RBI in 22 AB).
  • Dave had nice years in 1982 (.280, 37 HR, 106 RBI) and in 1983 (.283, 32 HR, 116 RBI). The 1983 season was marred by an incident on August 4in which Winfield unintentionally killed a seagull when he threw a ball at it during pregame warmups in Toronto. He was arrested for cruelty to animals after the game. He was released after posting bond and the charges were dropped the next day. Dave donated two paintings to be auctioned off for Easter Seals in Toronto after the season, but fans still stood and flapped their arms every time Winfield appeared in Toronto.
  • In 1984 Winfield and teammate Don Mattingly battled for the American League batting title. Mattingly won the title by batting .343 to Winfield's .340. Dave also hit 19 homers and had 100 RBI. In 1985 the Yankees were battling the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East title. Mr. Steinbrenner derisively said about Winfield that the Yankees needed an "Mr. October" and not a "Mr. May." Winfield was consistent from 1985-1987, batting between .262 and .275 and hitting 24-27 homers each year.
  • The 1988 season was Dave's last full season with the Yankees. He batted .322 with 25 homers and 107 RBI and appeared in his last All Star game. Winfield sat out the entire 1989 season with a knee injury.
  • By 1990 the feud between Winfield and Steinbrenner got so nasty that Steinbrenner was actually banned from baseball for a couple of years for his connections with a mobster that he had paid to try to dig up embarassing information about Winfield. Dave started the 1990 season by batting only .213 in 20 games. He was traded to the California Angels for Mike Witt on May 11 and finished the season with a total of 20 homers and a .267 average, which was good enough for Winfield to win the AL Comeback Player of the Year award.
  • In 1991 Dave batted .262 with 28 homers and 86 RBI. After the season he left the Angels and signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent. Winfield won his last Silver Slugger award (as a DH) in 1992 as he batted ..290 with 26 HR and 108 RBI. He finished 5th in AL MVP consideration as he helped the Blue Jays to the World Championship.
  • In 1993 Dave signed with the Hometown Minnesota Twins. He batted .271 with 21 HR and 76 RBI in 1993 and got his 3000th hit off of Dennis Eckersley on September 16. Here is a link to a Sports Illustrated article written right after the milestone was reached.
  • In the strike-shortened 1994 season he played in 76 games and batted .252 with 10 HR and 43 RBI. During the strike Dave was traded to the Cleveland Indians on August 31 for a player to be named later. The season was later cancelled and there was no "player to be named later," so Cleveland executives took Minnesota executives out to dinner to settle the trade.
  • Dave signed with the Indians in 1995 but didn't play much. He retired after playing in 46 games and batting .191.
  • Dave was the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre in 2001. He is now an executive vice-president with the Padres and an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. Dave has also done a large amount of charitable work with his Winfield Foundation.
  • Here is a link to Dave Winfield's official site.
  • Here is a link to his Hall of Fame page.
  • Gellman at Sports Cards Uncensored ran into Dave at the airport a few days ago. Story at the end of this blog entry.

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