Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 29th, 1959

Jesse Barfield Born

Jesse Barfield ended his career with a series of marginally worsening seasons for a series of marginally improving Yankee teams. That's where I know Jesse from, although I can't claim to remember him that well which is sort of a shame, since Barfield is widely thought to have had the best outfield arm in baseball even up to the end of his career. The numbers bear this out, as Barfield averaged seventeen and a half assists per one hundred and fifty games for his career, an outstanding figure, higher than names like Clemente or Ichiro.

Barfield spent the prime of his career for the Blue Jays in the mid-80s and was often a brilliant all around player. In 1986 he led the league with forty home runs, recorded twenty outfield assists and managed a 147 OPS+, all combining to place him fifth in the MVP vote. Barfield never showed league leading HR power before or after that season but he hit twenty or more six times and also had enough speed to steal twenty-two bases in 1985.

These days Jesse is known for being the father of Padres' second baseman Josh Barfield and for an unfortunate incident when Barfield's younger son Jeremy apparently pushed his father down a flight of stairs, leading to the latter's arrest. Jesse was treated at a local hospital but released the same day apparently indicating that he is fully recovered.

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