How many of you knew that Dave Winfield was drafted in Basketball (NBA Atlanta Hawks and ABA Utah Stars) Football(NFL Minnesota Vikings as well as Baseball (San Diego Padres)?
If you were Dave Wield which sport would you pick to play the rest of your career? Winfield chose baseball. He went directly to the major leagues without spending time in the minor leagues.
For the next several years, he was 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.
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. After going 1-22 in the 1981 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankee owner nicknamed Winfield Mr. May. Steinbrenner expected Winfield to be a big post season performer like Reggie Jackson.
The Mr. May label stayed with Winfield until 1992 when he won the world series as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
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 #31, Winfield’s uniform number, in his honor. In 2004, ESPN named him the third-best all-around athlete of all time in any sport. He is a member of both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Dave Winfield.