• Dave Winfield

    Posted by on February 4th, 2010 · Comments (25)

    I saw some interviews with Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma (this morning) and it got me thinking about Yankees who later won a World Series with a team other than the Yankees. First one who came to mind was Dave Winfield – but, I’m sure there are many others.

    Was I happy for Winnie when he finally got a ring? No, not really. Like Elaine Benes with lima bean soup, I’ve never been a big fan…of Winfield.

    How come? I just never warmed to the guy. He was like the mini-A-Rod of his time. Too much “look at me” and too much “drama” – period.

    A very, very, good player – don’t get me wrong. But, just not my cup of tea in terms of being a raving fan of the player. Plus, I really think he milked it in 1989 with the “bad back.” I recall, that season, seeing a picture of him in the paper “on his honeymoon” riding a roller-coaster somewhere (Disneyland?) and thinking “Yeah, that’s what I would do if I had a bad back….not.” My gut feeling is that he took 1989 and made it the “Summer of Dave” (yes, two Seinfeld references in one post!) as a way to stick it to Big Stein. Again, the “me first” type of thing…

    How about you? Were you a Yankees fan in the days of Dave Winfield? If so, what did you think of him?

    Comments on Dave Winfield

    1. Corey
      February 4th, 2010 | 11:44 am

      Like Elaine Benes with lima bean soup, I’ve never been a big fan…of Winfield.
      =========
      She did like her Yankee beans, though ;)

    2. #15
      February 4th, 2010 | 11:52 am

      Never liked him either. Just could never warm to him or Reggie. I don’t think they ever saw that it was/is a priveledge to be a Yankee. Gimme Donny, Thurman and DJ any day.

    3. MJ
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:00 pm

      #15 wrote:

      I don’t think they ever saw that it was/is a priveledge to be a Yankee.

      Ugh, I hate that kind of stuff. I’m as die-hard a fan as the next guy but the Yanks are just a team after all. There’s no greater privilege in being a Yankee than there is in being a Giant or a Dodger or an Oriole. The pay might be better, the stadium might be nicer and the city life may be more fun, but team history is more for the fans than for the players. We shouldn’t expect players to buy into stuff we believe in just because “being a Yankee” means a lot to those of us that sit in the stands.

      Did I like Winfield? I was too young to think critically about ballplayers the way I do now. So, yeah, from what I remember, I think I liked him. I know I didn’t like him as much as Mattingly but, as a kid, I happened to like Phil Niekro and Claudell Washington a fair bit too.

    4. MJ
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:05 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Did I like Winfield? I was too young to think critically about ballplayers the way I do now. So, yeah, from what I remember, I think I liked him.

      I should say, however, that I lost a bit of respect for him during the Hall of Fame process. I know he played a long time in San Diego and I know that he’s mostly known for feuding with Steinbrenner but I still thought he should’ve gone in as a Yankee. This was where he did the bulk of the work on his HOF resume and I was just a touch disappointed that he picked mustard yellow and brown over the clean look of pinstripes. Oh well…

    5. Raf
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:23 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I should say, however, that I lost a bit of respect for him during the Hall of Fame process. I know he played a long time in San Diego and I know that he’s mostly known for feuding with Steinbrenner but I still thought he should’ve gone in as a Yankee. This was where he did the bulk of the work on his HOF resume and I was just a touch disappointed that he picked mustard yellow and brown over the clean look of pinstripes. Oh well…

      I thought so too, but then to me it seemed like things were patched up a bit too quickly and convenient. Winfield going in as a Padre was kind of a “swerve” for lack of a better term. Reggie going in as a Yankee surprised me more.

      Having said that, it could’ve gone either way, looking @ Winfield’s career.

    6. MJ
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:43 pm

      @ Raf:
      Agreed on Reggie and agree that it could’ve gone either way with Winnie.

      Overall, that’s probably why the HOF process is now more rigidly controlled. It’s probably for the best…

    7. RockyTopYankee
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:50 pm

      He was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I loved how he gracefully and nonchalantly knocked the dirt from his spikes after nearly every pitch, and his humongous hacks that would throw him off balance when he missed.

    8. MJ
      February 4th, 2010 | 12:55 pm

      @ RockyTopYankee:
      Absolutely! I also liked how, to a kid my age, he looked like the biggest guy in the world. I’m no longer impressed by height but back then he looked like a basketball player playing among midgets.

    9. bfriley76
      February 4th, 2010 | 1:10 pm

      He was in his Yankee prime right around the time I was most impressionable as a young baseball fan, so I have fond memories of his playing days. So much so that two of my friends and I camped out to see his Hall of Fame induction. Man…did that change my opinion of him, He came off as a self-centered, pompous jerk in his speech. It was magnified by the fact that Kirby Puckett, who was also inducted that year, gave a great speech. Really disappointing day. Though, there was a gem from then Gov. Pataki, uttered during Winfield’s introduction: “The Best Yankee ever to go into the Hall of Fame as a San DIego Padre.”

    10. YankCrank
      February 4th, 2010 | 1:14 pm

      Sorry, was too young to see Winfield in pinstripes.

      My first Yankee memories are of the ’92 team so I never had the chance to love/hate the man. I do, however, notice a lot of Yankee fans hating him more than loving him.

      Any of the more seasoned Yankee fans care to tell me why, other than what Steve has said?

    11. Raf
      February 4th, 2010 | 1:56 pm

      RockyTopYankee wrote:

      He was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I loved how he gracefully and nonchalantly knocked the dirt from his spikes after nearly every pitch, and his humongous hacks that would throw him off balance when he missed.

      LOL!

      I remember those as well as the “shimmy” he used to do before he’d get in his hitting position.

    12. nwyank
      February 4th, 2010 | 2:31 pm

      Never liked him. Watched him play virtually every day and always thought he should have been better. Big hitch in his swing, lots of moving parts. Easy to retire w/ an outside + low slider. He had a terrible WS in ’81, and jokingly had a ball removed from play after he finally got a hit. Wasn’t funny. And had an opportunity to showcase his cannon arm from RF but bounced the ball about 17 times to home plate. Lots of strutting around, but nobody really feared him.

    13. baseballbob
      February 4th, 2010 | 2:43 pm

      I was sort of neutral about Winfield. While he was never one of my favorites, mostly due to his 1-for-22 showing in the 1981 World Series that got him the “Mr. May” label, I also felt badly about the way Steinbrenner treated him. Overall, he was a very solid Yankee, and it was nice to see he and Don Mattingly chasing after the batting title in 1984.

    14. redbug
      February 4th, 2010 | 3:54 pm

      MJ:

      There’s no greater privilege in being a Yankee than there is in being a Giant or a Dodger or an Oriole. The pay might be better, the stadium might be nicer and the city life may be more fun, but team history is more for the fans than for the players. We shouldn’t expect players to buy into stuff we believe in just because “being a Yankee” means a lot to those of us that sit in the stands.
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      I really think Jeter would disagree w/ you.

    15. MJ Recanati
      February 4th, 2010 | 4:10 pm

      redbug wrote:

      I really think Jeter would disagree w/ you.

      I’m glad it means a lot to Jeter and he’s welcome to disagree with me but that doesn’t mean there is a universal rule that applies to all Yankees. Players play because it’s their livelihood. Fans get emotionally invested. When a player loves his job, that’s wonderful. But we don’t actually *need* these guys to love their job, we just need them to do it to the best of their ability.

      How many folks love their jobs? How many companies require their employees to believe that it’s a privilege to work there?

    16. Raf
      February 4th, 2010 | 4:29 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      How many companies require their employees to believe that it’s a privilege to work there?

      Given what I’m going through, it isn’t so much the company, but a particular manager… :D

    17. MJ Recanati
      February 4th, 2010 | 4:56 pm

      @ Raf:
      LOL, I feel your pain! Hang in there buddy!

    18. February 4th, 2010 | 5:07 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      How many companies require their employees to believe that it’s a privilege to work there?

      In this economy, many more than what you may think. I can’t tell you how many people I know – beause it’s so many! – who have been told by their crappy employer that they should be happy to be employed, today, period – and consider that as a privilege..of sorts.

    19. Corey Italiano
      February 4th, 2010 | 6:34 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      MJ Recanati wrote:
      How many companies require their employees to believe that it’s a privilege to work there?
      In this economy, many more than what you may think. I can’t tell you how many people I know – beause it’s so many! – who have been told by their crappy employer that they should be happy to be employed, today, period – and consider that as a privilege..of sorts.

      I have heard that quite a bit in recent history.

    20. Raf
      February 4th, 2010 | 8:05 pm

      Don’t get me wrong, bad economy or no, I’m grateful for my job, and the things I’ve learned and the opportunity given. But in my particular case, I have a manager who is a cheerleader type, and I’m anything but. I tend to shut up and do my job, with little to no fanfare.

      I didn’t come to MasterCard to become a star, I bought mine with me… :D

    21. #15
      February 4th, 2010 | 8:06 pm

      The “priveledge” is that you get to play for an organization with an unmatched legacy of success and one that embraces it’s heros. And, if you and your teammates perform well, you can join that legacy. Plus, you can, if you chose, have a connection with a devoted knowledgable fan base for the rest of your life. I’m lucky enough to know Paul Blair. He’ll tell that he loved his time in Baltimore. 13 successful years, 8 gold gloves, a couple of rings, couple of AS appearance, in the top 20 in MVP voting 3 times. He’s in their HOF. Yet, they never call him for events and the Orioles don’t wrap themselves in that legacy. But, because he played 2 seasons as a Yankee and 2 two rings, there were/are always card shows, charity event, team functions, etc… that allowed him to retire comfortably, and moreover, there are always Yankee fans that want to talk to him about his time with the team.

    22. 77yankees
      February 4th, 2010 | 8:23 pm

      Once Reggie Jackson left after 1981, Winfield was the best player on the team for a couple of years, but you still had Ron Guidry, Graig Nettles, Lou Piniella, Goose Gossage & Bobby Murcer who drew just as many cheers from the fans. Then Don Mattingly burst on the scene in ’84, and at that point, nudged Winfield aside as the best player on the team.

      There was a lot of baggage there between him & Boss George that ultimately led to the Boss’ suspension. Of course, Winfield was dealing with the same shady person that the Boss got suspended for dealing with, but we know the power of the MLBPA.

      I don’t think Winfield did himself any favors by going into the HOF as a Padre either. As a result, his “day” in 2001 did not include his number being retired, nor was it broadcast on TV as it was scheduled before a FOX Saturday game. And to boot, the Stadium was only about half full during the ceremony on a day they drew a full house against the Mariners.

    23. Jeb
      February 4th, 2010 | 8:48 pm

      I loved Winnie for three reasons:

      1. I adored the end of This Week in Baseball when they would play the highlight of him making a catch in the outfield jumping into the stands at the stadium, as the closing track “Gathering crowds” played in the background. It’s just awesomeness incarnate;

      2. I loved that he was drafted in 3 sports; and

      3. I loved that when he could “get his arms extended” as I heard announcers say over and over again, that he could cream the ball.

      I loved the idea of him in the same outfield with Reggie Jackson and I wish it had worked out; and the 1984 batting title race with Mattingly was fun (though I admittedly was rooting for Donnie Baseball).

    24. JeremyM
      February 4th, 2010 | 10:34 pm

      Not only was he drafted in three sports (by four different teams, the ABA and NBA both drafted him for hoops), but he could’ve been a major league pitcher as well. They still write about his pitching here in Omaha during the College World Series for the Gophers (he was named MVP based on his performance). Just a phenomenal athlete. And he never played a day in the minors either.

      Funny someone compared him to Puckett above based on their HOF speeches. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Winfield the man and the charitable work he has done, and everything I’ve heard about Kirby has been awful and even criminal. But he was a master at the PR game.

      But I was too young to really remember Winfield the player. From the stuff I’ve read, it’s too bad he played for the Yankees when Steinbrenner was at his absolute worst.

    25. JeremyM
      February 4th, 2010 | 10:35 pm

      Sorry for no paragraph breaks, but the style of this blog literally changed during my post. Weird!

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