||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
Barfield in 2009
October 29, 1959 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 3, 1981 for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 17, 1992 for the New York Yankees|
|Runs batted in||716|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jesse Lee Barfield (born October 29, 1959) 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 had by far the best outfield arm of the 1980s. He led American League outfielders in assists three times (1985–87). Along with George Bell (LF) and Lloyd Moseby (CF), Barfield starred in what many analysts considered the best all-around outfield of the 1980s.[weasel words]
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 reach the playoffs for the first time. He also topped 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). He also hit a career-best 40 home runs, leading the major leagues and setting a team record which lasted one year. 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 he hit just .137 in 30 games. In 1993, he played in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, reuniting with Moseby, but batted just .215 in 114 games and was released.
Throughout his career Barfield was a free swinger and racked up more than 140 strikeouts in five seasons ('85, '86, '87, '89 and '90). For most of his time in the major leagues his productivity overshadowed his strikeouts; however by 1990, 1 in 3 Barfield at bats resulted in a strikeout.
Barfield was a career .256 hitter with 241 home runs and 716 RBI in 1428 games. He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.
His son, Josh, is a second baseman in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He has another son, Jeremy, selected by the New York Mets during the 2006 draft. Jeremy opted to attend San Jacinto Community College instead, and was drafted in 2008 by the Oakland Athletics. He is currently playing for the AA Midland (Texas) Rockhounds.
On August 22, 2006 it was reported by the Associated Press that Barfield's younger son, Jeremy Barfield, pushed his father down the stairs, causing Jesse to be hospitalized. The incident also resulted in Jeremy's arrest.
Currently, Jesse Barfield works at Competitive Edge Sports in The Woodlands, Texas.
From the book Baseball Quotations (ISBN 0-345-38123-8) edited by David H. Nathan:
One time I dropped a fly ball in Milwaukee and, after the game, the writers asked me what happened. I told them, "Well, I was looking up and a UFO flew right across. It was weird. I never saw anything like that in my life." Man, I was only joking and they wrote it up and put it in the paper. - Jesse Barfield, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, 1986
- List of top 300 Major League Baseball home run hitters
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The Free Press. 2001. p. 299.
- "Reports: Barfield taken to hospital after fight with son". ESPN.com News Services. August 21, 2006. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)