#40 - Dave Winfield, OF/DH
Dave Winfield's career mimicked two other baseball greats who landed in Anaheim at the tail ends of triumphant careers: Frank Robinson and Bobby Bonds. Each played for two seasons here (give or take a few games), and compiled similar stats (with the exception of Bonds' better speed numbers).
What separates Winfield from those two stellar veterans is that he was a member of the 81-81 1991 Angels, who finished in 7th place in the then-seven team American League western Division. The 1991 Angels are widely regarded as the best last-place team in baseball history.
The 1991 squad held the final glimmer of the Angels' first golden-era, with 1986's Dick Schofield, Wally Joyner and Kirk McCaskill still wearing the Halo, big free agent signings like Mark Langston winning the front office points, and the 1990 trade of Mike Witt for Winfield a signal to the fans that there was just a lull before another era of glory was upon us. That they traded promising rookie Dante Bichette at the start of the 1991 campaign for aging DH Dave Parker - that was the panic button that knocked over a few dominoes and things would not regroup until 1995.
And so Dave Winfield represents that last glimmer of the Cowboy's Camelot, a 15 year period (From Rick Miller in 1976 to Winfield in 90 and Parker in 91) of big bucks, big names and big trades brought to Southern California to win one for Mister Autry. It is no coincidence that Winfield's departure to Toronto as a free agent in 1992 coincided with Jackie Autry's lead role in downsizing the corporation. A medium-market was to ensue without the big bat of hope that Dave Winfield once represented.
Dave scored highest on yeswecan's ballot - 31st place, and was 33rd on Shredder's.
Rob McMillin of the 6-4-2 Southern California Baseball Blog has more in the Comment Section