WINFIELD: A Player's Life by Dave with Tom Parker Winfield

WINFIELD: A Player's Life

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A frank and thoughtful sports bio whose pleasures extend from the sly subtitle through measured comment on the state of professional baseball's race relations. Winfield, of course, is a handsomely paid outfielder for George Steinbrenner's New York Yankees--a team that for all its talent has reached the World Series but once since the author's widely heralded arrival in 1981. The literate and lively narrative takes Winfield from boyhood in an integrated working-class neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn., to sports celebrity in basketball as well as baseball at the state university. Joining the San Diego Padres right out of college in 1973, the 6'4"" Winfield became an accomplished glove man and a productive power hitter. He has worked hard at his chosen trade, and as a black resents being characterized as a natural athlete. A free agent after the 1980 season, Winfield was wooed and won by Steinbrenner, who gave him a ten-year contract worth an estimated $23 million. The honeymoon was short-lived, however, as Boss George began sniping at his All-Star acquisition and periodically welching on a side deal to support the Winfield Foundation, which conducts anti-drug programs among underprivileged youth. The author checks few swings in recounting his running battles with either Steinbrenner or the late Ray Kroc, who owned the Padres during his tenure. Nor does he flinch from offering warts-and-all profiles of teammates and close friends. A notable case in point is the late Al Frohman, the irascible Jewish businessman who first merchandised Winfield and opened his eyes to business opportunities. Winfield is equally candid about his personal life, which, to say the least, is untidy. More to the point, perhaps, fans will be able to gauge what is has cost the author to remain near the peak of a demanding profession throughout a 15-year career. In brief, then, a winning entry from a man who has made the most of his chances--and himself. The engaging text includes black-and-white photographs (not seen).

Pub Date: April 18th, 1988
Publisher: Norton