Day two of vacation in South Haven. This afternoon, I was reading a book on the beach that mentioned Dave Winfield. It casually dropped in that out of college, he was drafted by four different leagues (three sports). That seemed crazy to me.
Winfield grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and attended his hometown school, the University of Minnesota. As a Golden Gopher, he played baseball and basketball. His speciality was pitching; in the 1973 College World Series, he was named Most Outstanding Player; he struck out 29 hitters over 17 innings while giving up just one earned run (he also hit .467). Winfield's basketball coach at Minnesota called him the best rebounder he ever coached.
After his senior year at Minnesota, Winfield was drafted fourth overall by the Padres—one spot behind fellow future Hall of Famer Robin Yount. Teams from the NBA and ABA both selected Winfield; the Atlanta Hawks took him in the 5th round and the Utah Stars drafted him 58th overall. The really surprising one, though, was the Vikings taking Winfield in the 17th round of the 1973 NFL Draft. Winfield had not played football since high school.
Winfield, of course, chose baseball. On June 19, just weeks after his college season ended and with no minor league experience, he made his major league debut for the Padres, hitting 7th and playing left field. Winfield played seven more seasons in San Diego for owner Ray Kroc, earning four All-Star Game selections and hitting 154 home runs. Then in 1981, George Steinbrenner signed Winfield to a 10-year, $23 million contract, the highest in baseball. That contract helped fuel the MLB Strike in June and July of 1981. In New York, he made eight straight All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves.
Winfield retired at 43 in 1995 after stints with the Angels, Blue Jays, Twins, and Indians. His 11th-inning double proved to be the game-winning hit in Game 6 of the 1992 World Series, the only championship of Winfield's career. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2001, the first Padre elected to Cooperstown.