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August 4, 1983: Dave Winfield Arrested & Charged with Animal Cruelty

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    August 4, 1983: Dave Winfield Arrested & Charged with Animal Cruelty

    From nationalpastime.com:

    "August 4, 1983; Dave Winfield kills a seagull at Exhibition Stadium with a warmup throw before the home fifth inning. After the 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays, the Yankees outfielder is arrested by the Ontario police and charged with animal cruelty."
    ===================================================================================================================

    August 4, 1983: Dave Winfield’s errant throw accidentally kills seagull in Toronto
    https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/augu...ll-in-toronto/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "Fans flocked to Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium in record numbers to watch the Blue Jays soar to new heights in the summer of 1983, and those who turned out on this hazy, humid night were hoping for a four-game series sweep. Toronto sat one game out of first place while the Yankees, despite dropping the first three, were only four games behind in an extremely competitive division. (Six of seven AL East teams were over .500.) Because of the ballpark’s proximity to Lake Ontario, seagulls also flocked to Exhibition Stadium, circling above or occasionally landing on the field, waiting for fans to leave before devouring food scraps."

    "After New York went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth inning, the Yankees took the field and began making the customary languid warm-up throws. As Griffin strode to the plate, Winfield turned to toss his practice ball to ballboy Jeff Pinchuk at the right-field foul line. What happened next would be debated endlessly. Did Winfield intentionally or accidentally throw his baseball at a seagull sitting in right field? What was indisputable was that his 75- to 80-foot one-bounce throw struck the seagull in the neck, killing it."

    "Fans began booing Winfield and some threw rubber balls at him throughout the rest of the game. [Constable Wayne] Hartery sent [ballboy Jeff] Pinchuk out to retrieve the carcass. Pinchuk covered the dead seagull with a towel and took it off the field."

    "The game...finished but the drama was just beginning for Winfield."

    "During the game, Hartery consulted with his staff sergeant and determined that Winfield should be arrested and charged for the seagull’s death."

    “Get the cuffs!” joked Gamble as Winfield walked into the clubhouse with his hands up."

    "Instead of discussing his hot bat, his catch at the wall or his league-leading 15 game-winning RBIs, reporters asked Winfield about the ball he threw at the seagull. “Sincerely, I would never hit an animal on purpose. It wasn’t intentional,” Winfield declared when told police were waiting outside the clubhouse to question him."

    "Suddenly, the lighthearted mood changed to disbelief. “I could understand the fuss if it was a blue jay but it was just a gate-crashing seagull,” Nettles said. “Boy, they really hate us up here,” said closer Goose Gossage. As for Winfield’s intent, manager Billy Martin was predictably combative. “Ridiculous. That’s the first time Winfield’s hit the cutoff man all year. They can never get on me for pine tar when they’re talking about dead seagulls,” he said, alluding to the controversy he precipitated 11 days earlier."

    “I’ll tell you one thing. When Toronto comes down to New York next week, we’re going to get their four starting pitchers arrested. We’re going to have somebody call the police and say they were molested in the hotel,” Martin added."

    "Winfield went to Metropolitan Toronto Police 14 Division, where he was charged with causing “unnecessary suffering of an animal” under Section 402.1(a)of the Criminal Code of Canada, punishable by six months in prison or a $500 fine. Toronto general manager Pat Gillick graciously paid a $500 bond for Winfield, enabling him to be released from custody after one hour at the police station."

    "The next morning, Norm Matusiak, a senior crown attorney, reviewed the case.“It is always a key issue to find criminal intent, and I am satisfied there was none here,” Matusiak said. The police added that “after a lengthy phone conversation with Winfield,” Matusiak would go to Provincial Court on August 12 to formally withdraw the charge against Winfield."

    "I consider the whole incident a regrettable overreaction,” said Toronto Mayor Art Eggleton. “We went overboard on this one, and it sure doesn’t help Toronto’s reputation. I just can’t appreciate why Dave Winfield was taken to a police station. … Maybe he was trying to shoo [the seagull] away, but I’m sure he didn’t intend to kill it.” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was also critical: “To subject him to the treatment that Toronto officials did was ridiculous.”

    "Although 66 percent of 462 respondents to a Toronto Star poll said the city should not apologize to Winfield over his arrest, Metropolitan Toronto Chairman Paul Godfrey nonetheless visited the Yankees clubhouse between games of a Monday doubleheader in New York the following week. “I expressed to him how unfortunate the series of incidents that took place in Toronto were,” Godfrey said. Winfield agreed. “We had a cordial, frank discussion. There were no hard feelings. We thought it was blown out of proportion and it didn’t make anybody look good.”

    "What happened to the seagull?"

    "At University of Guelph, northwest of Toronto, Ian Barker, a professor of wildlife pathology, performed a necropsy on the bird the day after its death....Barker concluded that the “bruise on the brain, and … hemorrhaging around the base of the brain [was] due to the blunt force trauma of the baseball hitting the head.”

    "Winfield brought closure to the bizarre episode when he returned to Toronto in the winter for a charity dinner with a painting he commissioned depicting three seagulls flying over a shore and a red maple leaf. At the bottom, an inscription read: “To the Canadian people committed to the preservation of their values and resources. David M. Winfield.” The painting was auctioned off for $32,000 and proceeds were donated to the Easter Seals Society, benefiting physically disabled children. “I thought this would be an appropriate way to come back to the country, to express to the people my feelings,” Winfield said. “I hope things have cooled down a bit.”
    ===================================================================================================================

    Dave Winfield
    https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/dave-winfield/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "Imposing, confident, complex, charismatic, and controversial, Dave Winfield ranks as the greatest multisport athlete to emerge from the state of Minnesota. Drafted by five teams in five leagues in three major sports, Winfield chose baseball and compiled a first-ballot Hall of Fame career."

    "On December 15, 1980, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner signed Winfield to a 10-year, $23.3 million contract. Slugger Dave Winfield was leaving San Diego to play at Yankee Stadium and to become baseball’s highest-paid player."

    "At 6-feet-6 and 220 pounds, the powerfully-built right-hander wielded a menacing black bat. His long, sweeping swing started with a distinctive hitch. Then, with sudden ferocity, he uncoiled and laced line drives to all parts of the park, sometimes clearing fences and walls, more often slamming into them. He ran the bases aggressively and with purpose. He was a good basestealer, but a great baserunner. He played defense with equal enthusiasm. Athletic and graceful, he gobbled up ground with long strides, sported a steady glove and boasted one of the most lethal throwing arms in the history of the game. Though he was blessed with tremendous physical ability, it was Winfield’s preparation and determination, along with his ability to make adjustments at the plate and in the field that made him a player greater than his tremendous physical talent."
    ===================================================================================================================

    Related nyyfansforum articles:

    Dave Winfield and Monument Park
    http://nyyfansforum.sny.tv/forum/for...-monument-park


    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    #2
    Not one of Canada's proudest moments. Billy Martin's line about hitting the cutoff man was hilarious.
    I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up.

    Comment


      #3
      I was there that evening with my 14-year-old daughter. My impression was that Winfield was trying to scare off the bird. Unfortunately, he nailed it. The uproar around our seats was spectacular. "These Americans just can't come up here and kill Canadian animals," the guy in front of me shouted. Of course, they like it a lot when they come up here to kill Canadian moose and deer, not to mention various species of fish.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Bauer View Post
        I was there that evening with my 14-year-old daughter. My impression was that Winfield was trying to scare off the bird. Unfortunately, he nailed it. The uproar around our seats was spectacular. "These Americans just can't come up here and kill Canadian animals," the guy in front of me shouted. Of course, they like it a lot when they come up here to kill Canadian moose and deer, not to mention various species of fish.
        ha ha yes. Reminds me of when I moved to North Carolina for a few years during the 1990s, I heard plenty of times that I was a "damnyankee" and how sick the natives were of being inundated by transplanted New Yorkers, Bay Staters etc. Then you'd drive downtown and the women's clothing store was "New York Fashions." The fish store was "Cape Cod Seafood Market." The pizza restaurant was "New York Pizza" and the jewelry store was "Manhattan Gems." Southerners hate "yankees" but they sure glom onto our name fast enough when they want to sell something.
        I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post

          ha ha yes. Reminds me of when I moved to North Carolina for a few years during the 1990s, I heard plenty of times that I was a "damnyankee" and how sick the natives were of being inundated by transplanted New Yorkers, Bay Staters etc. Then you'd drive downtown and the women's clothing store was "New York Fashions." The fish store was "Cape Cod Seafood Market." The pizza restaurant was "New York Pizza" and the jewelry store was "Manhattan Gems." Southerners hate "yankees" but they sure glom onto our name fast enough when they want to sell something.
          LOL...We visit close friends of ours in New Bern, North Carolina, usually twice a year, and what you describe during the 1990s still exists today.
          Ironically however, now we found several of the store owners were actually former New Yorkers or New York area natives and were eager to carry on conversations about "The Good Ole' Days" when they grew up and/or lived in the area.
          "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

          Comment


            #6
            I know New Bern very well (pronounced NEW Bern, not New BERN). Quaint little city at the mouth of the Trent River and birthplace of Pepsi Cola. Interviewed for a job there once. Spent most of my time in NC in Rocky Mount after stops in Mount Olive (home of Mount Olive pickles ... Boy does that pickle plant stink up the town) and Clayton (Raleigh area).
            I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post
              I know New Bern very well (pronounced NEW Bern, not New BERN). Quaint little city at the mouth of the Trent River and birthplace of Pepsi Cola. Interviewed for a job there once. Spent most of my time in NC in Rocky Mount after stops in Mount Olive (home of Mount Olive pickles ... Boy does that pickle plant stink up the town) and Clayton (Raleigh area).
              NEW Bern is also the home of American novelist & screenwriter, Nicholas Sparks.
              One of our favorite novels of his, that was adapted into film, was "Nights in Rodanthe'

              "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

              Comment

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