The Story Isn't Quite What People Make it Out To Be

Published on February 3rd, 2024 2:38 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Baseball all-star player and the story about one of his late career trades. The disrespect!

There is a story that still circulates to this day involving Dave Winfield (who is a Hall of Famer) and him being traded for a steak dinner in 1994.

The story has taken on a life of its own, but the reality isn't nearly as controversial as the "story".


It was 1994, and Major League Baseball's players went on strike.

The general managers were stuck in a strange position - what would happen to the rest of the season? Should contenders trade for players? Should bad teams unload players for assets?

Nobody knew if the season would continue or not.

At the time, Dave Winfield played for the Minnesota Twins and was nearing the end of his career.

Twins' GM Andy MacPhail wanted to do right by the future Hall of Famer and send him to a contender.

The Cleveland Indians, however, were in first place and were looking to add some experience.

MacPhail and Indians' GM John Hart were friends. The Indians wanted Winfield, and the Twins wanted to trade him.

What price could be charged for Winfield, however, if the finishing of the season was an uncertainty?

MacPhail and Hart decided to trade Winfield for "future considerations" - if the season continued, the two sides would figure something out.


The "Dave Winfield got traded for a dinner" remark came when MacPhail said that if the season didn't restart, the Indians wouldn't owe anything for Winfield, as he would be a free agent at the end of the season.

Instead, MacPhail joked that perhaps John Hart could buy dinner at the annual general manager's meeting.

There is where the story originated.


The funny postscript to this story is that Winfield actually signed in Cleveland for his last season in 1995.

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