School: University of Minnesota
Sports: Baseball, Basketball
Described by future NBA coach Bill Musselman (who later coached Bill Laimbeer) as the “best rebounder [he’s] ever coached,” Dave Winfield has the eye-popping honor of being drafted by four teams in three different sports, one of which (football) he didn’t even play.
Winfield was on the 1972 Golden Gophers basketball team that became the first Minnesota squad in 53 years to be crowned Big Ten champs. In 1973, Winfield took home All-American honors for baseball and was named the MVP of the College World Series. His performance was so impressive that the San Diego Padres took him fourth overall in that year’s draft, though they selected him with the belief that he’d be a big league pitcher. In 22 seasons at the sport’s top level, Winfield never did pitch. Instead he became a Gold Glove outfielder who was inducted into the Hall of Fame the first time his name appeared on the ballot.
You may wonder why he chose baseball’s minor leagues over the instant fame/fortune associated with the NFL or NBA. But, the truth is, riding buses and staying in motels was nary a concern since Winfield was so immediately Major League ready that he got to skip them entirely.