- Height: 6' 6"
- Weight: 220 lbs.
- Date Of Birth: October 3, 1951
- Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
- College: University of Minnesota
- Mascot: Goldy Gopher
- Position: Outfield (OF)
- Bats: Right
- Throws: Right
- Draft: first round, fourth overall, San Diego Padres, 1973
Dave Winfield is the only athlete in history to be drafted by four different leagues. Winfield was a gifted athlete and upon graduating from Minnesota, he was drafted by teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football Association (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the American Basketball Association (ABA). Obviously, Winfield excelled in multiple sports, but upon becoming professional he decided to stick exclusively with baseball. It turned out to be a good decision, as Winfield had an impressive MLB career.
Winfield was born on October 3, 1951 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where he starred in both baseball and basketball. In basketball, he helped the Golden Gophers win their first Big Ten title in 53 years. However, it was on the baseball diamond that Winfield truly excelled. He led Minnesota to the College World Series in 1973 as both an outfielder and pitcher, and won World Series MVP for his pitching performance. Upon graduating from Minnesota in 1973, Winfield was drafted by the San Diego Padres (MLB), the Atlanta Hawks (NBA), the Utah Stars (ABA), and the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) even though he did not play college football. Winfield picked baseball and the Padres, and began his professional career that very same year.
Winfield became one of only a select few players in modern baseball to completely skip the developmental Minor Leagues. He both pitched and played outfield at Minnesota, but once in the MLB he was used exclusively as an outfielder. Winfield turned out to be an intimidating presence at the plate and on the field. His imposing size, athleticism, and determination transferred into all aspects of his game. He quickly established himself as an excellent defensive outfielder with a powerful arm, and pitchers began recognizing him as a hitter to be feared. He played through the 1980 season with the Padres, posting excellent offensive numbers and winning two Gold Gloves (1979 and 1980) for his defense.
In 1981, Winfield moved on to play for the New York Yankees. He enjoyed the best years of his career while in New York, posting career highs in home runs (37) in 1982, RBIs (116) in 1983, and batting average (.340) in 1984. He drove in at least 100 RBIs every year except two, finished second in the batting title race in 1984, and won five more Gold Gloves. Despite all this, Winfield had a conflicting career with the Yankees. He got into disagreements with owner George Steinbrenner, and had a shaky relationship with both the media and the fans. One reason for this is Winfield’s performance during the 1981 World Series. After playing very well during the Divisional and League series’, Winfield had a horrible World Series at the plate in the Yankees’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was continually criticized for being unable to lead the Yankees to a championship. After missing 1989 with a back injury, Winfield was traded to the California Angels partway through the 1990 season.
He spent the rest of 1990 and 1991 with the Angels before signing a free agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. With the Blue Jays, Winfield proved that, despite being over 40 years of age, he could still hit. He hit .290 with 26 home runs and 108 RBIs in 1992. Winfield also proved that he could win a championship by leading the Blue Jays to their first World Series appearance. He became part of Blue Jays history when in Game 6 he delivered a run scoring double in the top of the 11th inning to win the World Series.
Winfield then spent two years (1993-94) playing for his hometown Minnesota Twins, collecting his 3,000th career hit in 1993. He then closed out his career playing 46 games with the Cleveland Indians in 1995. Winfield finished his career a 12-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glover, with a career .283 batting average, 3,110 hits, 465 home runs, and 1,833 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Career Highlights, Awards, and Accolades:
- Led the Minnesota basketball team to a Big Ten Championship in 1972.
- Led the Minnesota baseball team to the College World of Series in 1973.
- Named MVP of the 1973 College World Series as a pitcher.
- Only player to be drafted by four different leagues: NBA, MLB, NFL, and ABA.
- Completely skipped the Minor Leagues with the San Diego Padres.
- Finished second in the batting race in 1984 with a career high .340 average.
- Played in the 1981 World Series with the New York Yankees.
- Won a World Series title in 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Had the 1992 World Series-winning hit with a run scoring double in the top of the 11th inning.
- Collected 3,000th career hit with the Minnesota Twins in 1993.
- Led the NL in RBIs n 1979: 118.
- Twelve-time All-Star: 1977-1988.
- Seven-time Gold Glove winner: 1979, 1980 1982-85, 1987.
- Six-time Silver Slugger winner: 1981-85, 1992.
- 1992 Babe Ruth Award winner.
- 1992 Branch Rickey Award winner.
- 1994 Roberto Clemente Award winner.
- Accidentally killed a seagull during warm-ups before the 5th inning in a game in 1983.
- Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
- Elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.