Winfield to enter Hall as Padre
?I had no idea when I was elected in January that I would have to think about it and look at this for so long, and from so many ways,? Winfield said in a statement released by the Hall on Friday. ?This has been an extremely tough decision.?
Winfield spent the first eight years of his career in San Diego, making four All-Star games. He will be the first Hall of Famer to have the Padres? logo on his plaque.
?I went with the team that gave me my very first opportunity,? he said. ?All of my ?firsts? happened in San Diego and that is where I developed as a player.?
There were arguments for other teams, most notably the Yankees ? the team with which Winfield gained national recognition. Owner George Steinbrenner made a big effort in recent years to patch up his differences with Winfield in hopes of getting a 17th Hall of Famer to have a Yankees logo on his plaque.
Winfield also had notable moments with other teams. He delivered the game-winning hit in the 1992 World Series with the Blue Jays, and got his 3,000th hit with his hometown Twins.
He also played for the Angels and Cleveland before ending his 22-year career in 1995.
The Hall of Fame has the final choice of which logo will be on the plaque, but Winfield was allowed to choose because the majority of his career was split between the Padres (1,117 games) and Yankees (1,172).
?This is good news,? Padres president Larry Lucchino said. "It?s a good day for the Padres. We are proud that Winfield has identified San Diego and the Padres as his baseball home.
?There?s something about your first baseball home, kind of like your first love in life, it stays with you forever, if you?re lucky.?
Winfield is on the Padres? board of directors and was inducted into the team?s hall of fame last year. On Saturday night, the Padres will retire his No. 31 and give fans Winfield replica jersey T-shirts.
Winfield will enter the Hall in August with former Twins teammate Kirby Puckett, Bill Mazeroski and Negro leagues player Hilton Smith.
Puckett will go in with the Twins logo on his plaque, Mazeroski will be inducted as a Pittsburgh Pirate and Smith will be in as a Kansas City Monarch during ceremonies Aug. 5, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
A multi-sport standout at the University of Minnesota, Winfield was drafted by the Padres, the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, and the Utah Stars of the now-defunct ABA.
One of baseball?s first players to sign a long-term, multimillion dollar contract, Winfield had a long-running feud with Steinbrenner, who sarcastically labeled him ?Mr. May,? to contrast his postseason struggles with the success of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who earned the nickname ?Mr. October.?
Winfield never spent a day in the minor leagues and became a 12-time All-Star. He won five Gold Gloves in the outfield.
Winfield hit .283 with 465 home runs and 3,110 hits. He?s one of only seven players with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
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