On Friday night, Athletics righthander Bob Welch bothered the Yankees plenty. He had them down 7-1 in the seventh inning when Winfield hit a shot into left centerfield. Dave Parker fielded the ball cleanly on one hop. There was no hesitation in Winfield's gigantic stride as he rounded first. Parker made a superb throw, but Winfield made a perfect slide and was in with a double. Then he tagged up and went to third on a fly ball to Parker, who later said, "I would have taken off my cap to him, but we've got to play them again."
Winfield is 36 going on 21. He has never had so much as a broken bone. He has been on the disabled list just twice in his 2,160-game major league career. He has missed one game this year, after a van carrying eight of his in-laws crashed in Texas. The family of his new wife, Tonya, had been driving from Louisiana to see him play in Arlington, Texas. Tonya's niece, Kristin, died in the accident. She had been one of the flower girls in the Winfields' wedding in February. Winfield took one day off to be with the family, and then went back and resumed his hitting.
Oakland ended up beating New York 11-3 on Friday night. After the game the Yankee clubhouse was quiet as players sought the privacy of the shower or training room. Oakland's Carney Lansford had gone 4 for 4 to replace Winfield as the American League batting leader, .396 to .388. Winfield was the only Yankee star who came out and faced the press. "I can take the heat," he said. "I'm happy. The A's can hit, but let someone else be worried, nervous or awed. I'll be back tomorrow. And I promise this: I'm going to hit everything hard everywhere."
The next day Winfield kept his balance and his discipline when he took a bases-loaded walk to help the Yankees beat the Athletics 3-2. On Sunday, he went hitless for only the third time in 24 home games, but the Yankees won 2-0 on John Candelaria's two-hitter.
Steinbrenner did not convene a press conference to give Winfield a vote of confidence.