Winfield honored on Big Ten Network tonight (8pm)

Lindsay Guentzel

 

            University alumnus Dave Winfield will take the national spotlight after being named No. 15 in the Big Ten Icons countdown, presented by Discover and the Big Ten Network.

            The program honoring Winfield will air tonight at 8 p.m.

            A native of St. Paul, Minn., Winfield was the first person to be drafted in three professional sports—baseball, football, and basketball—after helping lead both the University’s basketball and baseball teams to first place finishes in the Big Ten conference in 1972 and 1973, respectively.  He was also instrumental in the Gophers’ third place finish in the 1973 College World Series.

            Winfield was named to the CWS Legends Team in June and is also a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. 

            While Winfield was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Hawks, it was his time as a professional baseball player —both as a pitcher and a slugger—that gained him the most notoriety. 

            Winfield spent the beginning of his career with the San Diego Padres, appearing in his first All-Star game in 1977.  His break-out year came in 1979 when he batted.308 with 34 home runs and 118 RBIs.

            Besides his time in San Diego, Winfield also spent nine years with the New York Yankees—becoming the highest-paid baseball player in 1981 when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner signed Winfield to a 10-year, $23 million contract.  He also spent time playing with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins.

             He is currently an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.

 

Special note:  Winfield isn’t the only University alumnus to be honored in the Big Ten Icons countdown.  Bronko Nagurski (21), Neal Broten (31), and Bobby Bell (40) were also selected to the list.