This Day in Baseball History: August 4th, 1983

Had a pretty good season with them, too.

On August 4, 1983:

Dave Winfield kills the Blue Jays … and a seagull.

On August 4, the New York Yankees made a trip to play the Toronto Blue Jays. The two teams were playing well but still in third (Blue Jays) and fourth (Yankees), and by the end of the season, the two teams would be still be battling for third and fourth with the Yankees winning out. It was also an interesting match-up from a managing perspective as Billy Martin and Bobby Cox squared off. From a pitching perspective, Doug Stieb and Shane Rawley went at it with both throwing complete games, but it was the Yankees, behind Dave Winfield‘s 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, who won the game 3-1.

But the fans weren’t exactly preoccupied with the game. They were after Dave Winfield, but it wasn’t because he was a key player in the game. Before the fifth inning as is customary, Winfield was simply making his warm-up tosses, and when the catcher threw down to second, he had to throw it in. He yelled at the bat boy to pay attention, and with his attention, Winfield hurled the ball in. Unfortunately, it nailed a seagull, cracking its skull, and killed it. The fans were upset, and they began launching their own missiles at Winfield and booed him. After the game, the Ontario Police arrested him and charged him with cruelty to animals. Winfield paid a $500 fine and went on his way.

There’s some debate as to whether Winfield did it on purpose. On one hand, Billy Martin quipped that Winfield couldn’t make that accurate of a throw if he tried, but on the other, he threw it toward a stationary bird. I imagine he threw it at the bird in the way that a kid throws a rock at an animal. You don’t really mean to hit it (and definitely not kill it), but you’d think it was funny if it did hit the bird. Out of pure luck, Winfield actually hit the bird and in the wrong spot. For years, Toronto fans flapped their arms and booed him. Funny enough, Winfield played in Toronto in 1992 and became a fan favorite.

Trivia Time
What did Winfield due during the 1983 off-season to make amends?

Yesterday’s Answer –> Yogi Berra and Mickey Cochrane

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