Saturday, July 29, 2006
Featured Player: Jesse Barfield
Jesse Lee Barfield (born October 29, 1959 in Joliet, Illinois) is a former Major League Baseball right fielder who played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1981-89) and New York Yankees (1989-92). He batted and threw right-handed.
Barfield was better known for his powerful throwing arm, universally hailed as the strongest outfield arm of his time, and as one of the best in major league history. It was not only strong, but accurate as well. He led American League outfielders in assists three times (1985-87), a remarkable total, since few opposing runners dared to even challenge his skilled throws. Along with George Bell (LF) and Lloyd Moseby (CF), Barfield starred in what many analysts considered the best all-around outfield of the 1980s.
Selected by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 1977 amateur draft, Barfield debuted in the majors in 1981 and was a regular the following season. In 1985, he helped Toronto to reach the playoffs for first time. He also topped the 20 home runs six times, became the first Blue Jay to hit a pinch grand slam (1982), and the first to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the same season (1985).
Despite the Blue Jays' failure to defend their division title from the previous year, Barfield enjoyed his best personal season in 1986. He collected career-highs in batting average (.289), RBI (108), runs (107), hits (170) and doubles (35). Beside this, he hit a career best 40 home runs, leading the major leagues and setting a team record. In addition, Barfield was awarded the Gold Glove Award and selected to the American League All-Star team.
Barfield was traded to the Yankees for pitcher Al Leiter on April 30 1989. He won his second Gold Glove in 1987, but his offensive numbers declined noticeably. He hit 25 home runs for New York in 1990, but never produced like the club had hoped. Injuries and general ineffectiveness forced his retirement in 1992, at age 32, after hitting just .137 in 30 games.
He joined the Houston Astros for spring training in 1996, but did not make the ballclub.
Barfield was a career .256 hitter with 241 home runs and 716 RBI in 1428 games.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:08 PM