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Sports Desk, Please
Kelly Whiteside
October 19, 1992
Major leaguer Jesse Barfield uses Yankee ingenuity in designing his unusual furniture
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October 19, 1992

Sports Desk, Please

Major leaguer Jesse Barfield uses Yankee ingenuity in designing his unusual furniture

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Hello, Mr. Steinbrenner, it's Jesse Barfield. First let me say, Welcome back! I'm just calling to ask....

Yes, yes, I know I only played 30 games for the team this season. Yes, indeed, I am a free agent now. But that's not what I'm calling about....

You mean the little accident? The wrist is a lot better now, thank you. It was just a little slip in the sauna. Arthroscopic surgery. Rehab. I'm better now....

So what have I been doing with all my time on the disabled list? Funny you should ask. I was wondering if you would be interested in purchasing some office furniture. Maybe something for the clubhouse....

Yes, I'm serious. Here, let me just read you a little bit about my executive desk from one of my brochures: "Make a statement about your winning style with unique office furniture created by one of baseball's premier players. This and other striking, custom-crafted wood designs with remarkably detailed miniature playing fields...."

Excuse me? No, this isn't a joke. Hello? Hello? Mr. Steinbrenner?

In truth, Barfield's pitch never made it to the Boss. He struck out with the clubhouse manager. "I play for the New York Yankees, and they don't have any of my furniture in Yankee Stadium," says Barfield, his Yankee pride a bit wounded. "I'm not going to beg. The Yankees are just so traditional."

That can't be said of the furniture in the showroom of Sports Designs by Jesse Barfield, in Houston. Barfield does indeed make desks with ballparks carved deep into them—they resemble tiny, glass-topped bowl stadiums. He also offers lamps with bats as their bases; a coffee table shaped like a football, with a gridiron inlay; and an end table that features a basketball court. "Sure, I could have opened a restaurant or a sports bar like other players," says Barfield, "but I wanted to do something unique."

Barfield's furniture may not win any design awards, but it looks just fine in the study of a Cy Young Award winner. Doug Drabek of the Pittsburgh Pirates bought a $3,250 ash desk, complete with a model of Three Rivers Stadium. "It's certainly a conversation piece," says Drabek. "It's even got real dirt. It was great doing business with him. He came over to the house and measured everything, and then he came back to check that his customer was satisfied."

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