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Dave Winfield

Close Family

David Mark Winfield was born October 3, 1951, the son of Frank Winfield, a waiter on passenger trains, and Arline Winfield, a public school employee. His parents separated when Dave was three, and his mother raised him and his brother, Steve, alone. They lived in a black community in St. Paul, Minnesota. The three were a very closely knit family, and the boys never strayed farther than a nearby playground. There, director Bill Peterson, who was white, encouraged the neighborhood children to play baseball and basketball. Winfield later said of Peterson, "He gave more to that community than anyone I know. To me … he was coach, friend, father, all rolled into one."

Small for his age, Dave did not try out for the baseball team at St. Paul's Central High School until his junior year. A tremendous growth spurt helped him achieve All-City and All-State honors in both baseball and basketball by his senior year, and after graduation he was offered a scholarship to the University of Minnesota. He continued to live at home and majored in political science and black studies. During his freshman year, he was arrested as an accomplice in the theft of a snowblower from a store. When his mother came to escort him from an overnight stay in jail, she was crying, and Winfield was ashamed and remorseful that he had hurt her. He remained on probation throughout college.

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