To say that Dave Winfield was a stud, is an understatement. As a Minnesota Gopher (I can't help but think of groundskeeper Carl Spackler, Bill Murray's character in the movie Caddyshack), his basketball team won their first Big Ten championship (1972) in 53 years. He averaged 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 40 Minnesota Gophers basketball games and posted a 19-4 pitching record on the diamond.
In 1973, he was the fourth overall pick by the Padres, as well as the NBA's Atlanta Hawks (5th round) and the ABA's Utah Stars (6th round). The Minnesota Vikings also made him their 429th overall pick (17th round) that year as a tight end.
Despite going directly from college to the big league diamond, completely bypassing minor league play, he batted .277 in 56 games during his first season in the brown and yellow. In 1978 he became the Padres team captain, batting .308 with 34 home runs and 118 RBIs.
When he retired in 1996, his 23-year career spanned 2,973 games, where he garnered 3,110 hits, 465 homers and 1,833 RBIs, enroute to 12 consecutive All-Star games. He also won seven Gold Gloves and six Silver Slugger Awards. And when it came time to vote him into the National Baseball Hall of Fame (was there any doubt), it's no wonder he was a first ballot inductee with 84.5 percent of the vote in 2001.
Best of all, when he entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he did so as the Padres' first inductee. In 2001, San Diego officially retired his jersey.
Happy 62nd Birthday Dave, and thanks for the Padres memories.