Dave Winfield turns 68 today.
Winfield had a terrific 22 year MLB career and he’s in the Hall of Fame. And he had that one season with the Blue Jays.
In 1992, at age 40, Dave signed with the Jays has a free agent. We had a pretty good team, but we were short a DH and Winfield filled that role and did a great job, hitting .290/.377/.491 with 26 home runs and 108 RBI. He was on a good to get get RBIs, Devon White and Roberto Alomar hit one, two most of the season, got on base and Winfield hit cleanup all season. It didn’t hurt that Winfield hit .303/.419/.545 with runners in scoring position.
And he became a vocal leader on the team. Back in 1992, Jays fans were considered too quiet, to sober, to polite and Winfield famously asked fans to make more noise. Minor Leaguer wrote about it here.
Winfield had a reputation of not playing well at playoff time. George Steinbrenner called him Mr. April, playing off Reggie Jackson’s nickname as Mr. October. He did have a rough time in the 1981 World Series, going just 1 for 22 in the Yankees’ 6 game loss to the Dodgers.
For us he did better. In the ALCS, against the A’s, he hit .250/.357/.542 with 2 home runs in 6 games. Then, in the World Series, against the Braves, he hit .227/.292/.273 with 3 RBI. And he got his one World Series ring.
Career Winfield hit .283/.353/.475 with 465 home runs in 2973 games. He was a good defensive right fielder, he good speed (stole 223 bases) and had a personality. He was fun to watch.
Happy birthday Dave.
Darrin Fletcher turns 53 today.
Darrin was a catcher in the MLB for 14 seasons. He spent 5 of them with the Blue Jays (and 6 with the Expos).
He signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays before the 1998 season. In 1997 we had Benito Santiago as our catcher and he hit .243/.279/.387, so we needed better.
Fletcher, a lefty batter, hit .276/.318/.434 with 61 home runs, in 540 games with the Jays. His best season was in 2000, when he hit .320/.355/.514 with 20 home runs. The next season wasn’t as good, he hit .226/.274/.353 with 11 home runs. He played 45 games in 2002 and retired after the season.
Career he hit .269/.318/.423 with 124 home runs in 1245 games.
He was considered a good bat/poor glove catcher. I’m not sure how fair that was, but he had a below average arm. It is tough to judge if he worked well with his pitchers.
Fletcher did some analyst work on Jays TV broadcasts. I thought he did a good job, but then we didn’t hear him do 150 games a year. Maybe I think of him more fondly because we didn’t hear him enough to tired of him.
Happy Birthday Darren.
Junior Felix turns 52 today.
Junior was a outfield prospect with the Jays. We traded Jesse Barfield to the Yankees, for Al Leiter at the end of April, 1989 which made room in the outfield for Junior.
In 1989 Junior hit .258/.315/.395 with 9 home run (8 triples), 18 steals in 110 games playing mostly right field. The Jays made the playoffs and Junior went 3 for 11 in our 3 game series loss to the A’s.
In 1990 he hit .263/.328/.441 with 15 homers and 13 stole bases in 127 games. He was just 22 and I figured we had an outfielder for years to come. I had high hopes for Felix. It’s funny how a player can become a favorite in such a short time.
After the season he was trade to the Angels, along with Luis Sojo for Devon White, Willie Fraser and Marcus Moore. I remember not being pleased. White was 28 and, in 6 seasons with the Angels he had hit .247/.295/.389. Even with his defense and speed, I didn’t see him as an upgrade. I was wrong.
Felix would play 4 more MLB seasons, hitting .266/.313/.408 with 31 home runs in 348 games. Devon White would win two World Series rings. I think it is safe to say we won the trade.
Happy Birthday Junior.