Who is Dave Winfield?
Dave Winfield’s career is a unique chapter of American sports history. Hailed as one of the greatest athletes ever to play professional sports, he is one of only 7 players in the history of Major League Baseball to reach over 3,000 hits and over 450 home runs. The 12-time All-Star is amongst the all-time leaders in hits, home runs and RBI. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 — his first year of eligibility.
WINFIELD BY THE NUMBERS:
First Ballot Inductee National Baseball Hall of Fame 2001
3,110 Career Hits
465 Home Runs
2,973 Games Played
12 Consecutive All-Star Games
7 Gold Gloves
6 Silver Slugger Awards
He began his career as a Williams Scholar at the University of Minnesota, where he played Big Ten basketball and baseball. An All-American in baseball, he was voted MVP of the 1973 College World Series as a pitcher, was a #1 draft pick and never spent a day in the minor leagues. Even today, he remains the only athlete ever to be drafted in by four professional sport leagues: basketball (NBA Atlanta Hawks, ABA Utah Stars), football (NFL Minnesota Vikings) and baseball (MLB San Diego Padres).
His professional career took off in 1973 with the San Diego Padres, followed by eight All-Star seasons with the New York Yankees. In 1990, he joined the California Angels, followed by a magical year with the Toronto Blue Jays where he drove in the winning run of the 1992 World Series. Dave returned to his native Minnesota and reached the 3,000th hit milestone with the Twins. He ended his 22-year career after the 1995 season with the American League Champion Cleveland Indians.
He served as spokesman for New York Summer Jobs for Youth, United Negro College Fund, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Daily News, Ask.com/Susan G. Komen and Breast Cancer, Minnesota Board of Education and the Discovery Channel and hosted the syndicated television series Greatest Sports Legends. He’s appeared on Married With Children, The Drew Carey Show, Arli$$, Pros vs. Joes and Windfall. In 2010, he appeared in national commercials for Verizon and Ask.com and Susan G. Komen to combat breast cancer. Since 1982, he’s been a member of both the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Well-known for his philanthropy, Dave was the first active professional athlete to create a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation – and inspired many other athletes to do the same. For over 20 years, the Winfield Foundation provided healthcare services, nutritional counseling, scholarships, computer literacy, and holiday dinners to children and families in need — in and beyond the six major league cities he called home. He established the Winfield Nutrition Center in conjunction with Hackensack Medical Center. The Foundation’s primary focus became substance abuse prevention through TURN IT AROUND, a community action campaign. The program’s innovative audio/visual and print materials for elementary school children were recognized as potent and innovative tools in the war on drugs. Educators, business leaders and government agencies around the world have endorsed and utilized the bi-lingual TURN IT AROUND materials.
His work was a precursor to today’s MLB and MLB player’s Association charitable components. Besides buying blocks of tickets to games, it was Dave’s idea to open pre-game practice at the MLB Annual All-Star Game, which is now a weeklong event today.
In 2008, Dave developed the format to honor the remaining Negro League players with an honorary draft into Major League Baseball by all 30 teams. He accompanied President Jimmy Carter and his Foundation, the Carter Center, to Africa on a humanitarian mission to combat local diseases and water shortages.
Dave’s charitable and community work has earned him numerous honors, including: The Minnesota Jaycees 10 Outstanding Young Men Award, the YMCA Brian Piccolo Award, the first Branch Rickey Community Service Award, American League Joe Cronin Award, Josh Gibson Leadership Award and Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award. The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation in Los Angeles annually presents the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award for community service. He’s received honorary Doctorate of Laws from both Syracuse University and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and was selected one of America’s 10 Outstanding Young Men.
An accomplished author, his autobiography, Winfield: A Player’s Life was a New York Times best seller. He also wrote a drug education book, TURN IT AROUND! There’s No Room Here For Drugs; an acclaimed “how-to” called The Complete Baseball Player; a compilation of syndicated children’s advice column called, “Ask Dave”, and his latest, Dropping The Ball, an in-depth look at baseball’s current problems and possible solutions. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
He’s been elected to the Halls of Fame for St. Paul Central High School, the University of Minnesota, the San Diego Padres, NCAA College Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.