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Is that to say that Winfield should also be investigated?
Like Steinbrenner, Winfield gave money to Spira. Though he first denied it, Winfield has admitted lending Spira $15,000 in 1981, when Spira was working for Top Hat, a promotional company founded by Winfield's former agent, Al Frohman, who died in 1987. Winfield says he didn't know Spira was a gambler and says he made the $15,000 loan to Spira at Frohman's request without knowing what the money was for.
Is there evidence suggesting otherwise?
When asked by SI about the $15,000, Frohman's widow, Barbara, said her husband told her Winfield lent Spira the money after Spira went to Winfield and her husband "crying, hysterical, on bended-down knees" for help in covering huge debts he apparently owed to mob bookies. Albert Whitton, a chauffeur for Top Hat from 1981 to '83 who drove Frohman and, at times, Winfield, told SI that both men were aware that Spira gambled and also knew that he, Whitton, had spent time in prison (eight months) for bookmaking. As for the $15,000, Whitton said Frohman told him "the money was to pay off [Spira's] gambling debts."
So Winfield, like Steinbrenner, may have known he was giving money to a gambler linked to the mob?
He may have. What's more, two sources have told SI that although they did not witness Winfield placing a bet, they did overhear him discussing his own apparent involvement in sports gambling. One of the sources, free-lance writer Allen Barra, a regular contributor to the New York City weekly The Village Voice who is writing a book with Marvin Miller, the former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, told SI that early in 1985 he spent a few days with Winfield in Minneapolis while preparing a story for Sports Fitness magazine. While there, Barra said, he heard Winfield talk about sports wagers in which he had apparently been involved and heard him make phone calls to get odds on sports events.
"He said he never bet on baseball," Barra told SI. "I heard him say only idiots bet on baseball. He said football you could pick a team, and load up on the Super Bowl usually because you could figure out which of those teams would be better. But baseball, well, the difference between the best and the worst team in any given game is tough to call."
Another source who was close to Winfield in the 1980s told SI of having heard Winfield as recently as 1987 discuss bets he apparently had placed on boxing and college sports, including the Sugar Bowl. "[ Winfield and Frohman] sent Howie to place bets," said the source. "I sat and listened to David and Al talk about gambling. David would talk about who he wanted to win because he had money on that team."
How does Winfield respond?