Dave Winfield's All-Star Game 'Accident' 30 Years Later

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30 years ago, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield made an innocent mistake in an interview which caused Major League Baseball to open All-Star festivities to the public.

Because of an innocent mistake made by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield 30 years ago, Major League Baseball instituted their open All-Star festivities to the public.

Winfield, who was with the San Diego Padres at the time, had begun his Winfield Foundation for Underprivileged Children. One of its programs called Winfield Pavilion would bring children and families to ball games who couldn't afford to go. When the All-Star game was held in San Diego in 1978, Winfield bought a block of 500 tickets to that special event.

However, in a television interview the day before the game, Winfield inadvertently invited "all the kids of San Diego" to attend -- and over 10,000 showed up.

Dorothy Bowen, the Winfield Foundation's first volunteer coordinator, recalled, "Dave brought all the kids into batting practice, the sponsors brought in more food and souvenirs, and it turned out to be the grandest party we'd ever thrown."

The Winfield Foundation staged similar All-Star events in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Major League Baseball has since opened All-Star Game batting practices to the community and raises funds for local charities.

This year's All-Star Game is being held at another of Winfield's old stomping grounds, Yankee Stadium.

http://www.davewinfieldhof.com

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RANDY GROSSMAN
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