Nobody wants to be in my pants right now” - Twins reliever Juan Rincon, after giving up four runs in a third of an inning in Minnesota's 6--5 loss to the Yankees in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Division Series:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Classic Twins Game of the Week: Dave Winfield's 3,000th Hit Game: Sept. 16, 1993

UPDATED: Tues., Oct. 8, 2013
                Winfield squares up pitch  from Dennis Eckersley  for his 3000th hit
Dave, like Graig Nettles in previous post, also played for the
Alaska Goldpanners as an amateur, in 1971-72
 ( Photo by Brian Peterson Minneapolis Star Tribune)

                 

Dave Winfield, the three-sport standout alumni of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers,  came back to Minnesota after 20 years to become a member of the 1993 Minnesota Twins. After a prolonged slump that late season, he finally connected for his milestone hit; only 18 other players had accomplished the feat to that time. A poignant photo is below, from that Thursday night, Sept. 16, 1993 ( see BB Ref. box ) game against the Oakland Athletics. That Kirby Puckett ( who scored on the hit ) was one of the first players to congratulate Dave Winfield after his milestone hit reminds me of an interesting circumstance. Had he remained healthy into the first week of the 1996 season, only he, Rick Aguilera, and Chuck Knoblauch would have earned the distinction of being the only Twins to play with the era's 3 outstanding players from St. Paul, Minnesota and had Hall of Fame - calibre careers: Jack Morris in 1991, Winfield in 1993-1994, and Paul Molitor in 1996. Alas, that was never to happen when he woke up the morning of March 31, 1996 with a black dot in his right eye. Glaucoma robbed him of that opportunity, forcing his retirement later that season. As a footnote: The Twins won that game, 5-4.

                          Greeting big Dave near first base: Puckett, a smirking Scott Erickson, Brian Harper 
                           behind Erickson, Willie Banks behind Kirby. Jeff Reboulet (#17), out of camera holding 
                  helmet, Pat Mahomes looks up at video board. (this photo & others: Fri., Sept. 17, 1993 Star Tribune)                    
Speaking of videos: watch this while you can before MLB has it scrubbed from You Tube [ note: the suits did just that, not long after this posting...the fun squashers thus took away your view of Dave's at bat in its entirety!].  It's nice to hear long time Twins announcer Dick Bremer on the call.


Winfield was showing signs of pressure in the attempt to reach his goal - if not the signs of encroaching age and the diminishment of his skills. At the link, see the averages over the stretch of his previous 20 games before Sept. 16, along with the log of games before his hit on the 16th:


Much like Harmon Killebrew's struggle to breach the No. 500 HR barrier during the 1971 season, this period for Winfield was a testament to the fact that he was now into the "September" of his career. In other words, it was an excruciatingly long-ass crawl to the 3,000 hit finish line for him...I hope you like this Minneapolis Star Trib feature from the day
Go ahead, click on photo, view larger version and others in 
this post for greater detail!






I will be adding more commentary to this post shortly. 

As our old friend at the mic, Herb Carneal, would have said, "...And the count rides along." - TT
Click on graphic of quotes to see unobstructed view!



I'll never forget the sight of Nolan Ryan knocking
down Winfield and Rickey Henderson in the '85 
All-Star Game, which I attended at the Hubert H. Humphry 
Metrodome in Minneapolis.  At the time, I really didn't 
understand his motivation  - but this bit of history in their
background might shed some light on that. See Ryan's
comments below...you can also judge his actions
in context with his beating the snot (MLB Video) out of
  Robin Ventura in 1993 when he charged Ryan in Texas.





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