Jesse Barfield
Barfield in 2009
Right fielder
Born: (1959-10-29) October 29, 1959 (age 64)
Joliet, Illinois, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 3, 1981, for the Toronto Blue Jays
NPB: April 10, 1993, for the Yomiuri Giants
Last appearance
MLB: June 17, 1992, for the New York Yankees
NPB: October 21, 1993, for the Yomiuri Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.256
Home runs241
Runs batted in716
NPB statistics
Batting average.215
Home runs26
Runs batted in53
As player

As coach

Career highlights and awards
Member of the Canadian
Baseball Hall of Fame

Jesse Lee Barfield (born October 29, 1959) is an American former professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as a right fielder from 1981 to 1992 for the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees.

A two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Barfield was a strong defensive player featuring an impressive throwing arm that allowed him to lead the American League (AL) five times in outfielder assists.[1] He ended his playing career ranked second only to Baseball Hall of Fame member, Chuck Klein, in outfielder assists per 1,000 innings.[2] He was also provided strong offense, winning a Silver Slugger Award and leading the American League in home runs in 1986, the same year he was named to the American League All-Star team.[1]

Injuries prematurely ended Barfield's major league career after 11 seasons.[3] He played his final season of professional baseball in 1993 with the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. After his playing career, Barfield worked as a major league coach for the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners.[3]


Toronto Blue Jays (1981–1989)

Barfield was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round (233rd overall) of the 1977 Major League Baseball draft.[4] He made his major league debut on September 3, 1981, going 1-for-4 with one RBI and a stolen base in a 4–3 win against the Chicago White Sox. In the fifth Inning, Barfield recorded an RBI single in off White Sox pitcher Steve Trout for his first career hit and RBI.[5] He appeared in 25 games to close out the season, batting .232 with two home runs and 9 RBI.[1] Barfield became the Blue Jays' starting right fielder the following season, and hit .246 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 139 games.[1] On April 25, he hit the first grand slam in Blue Jays franchise history against the Boston Red Sox.[6][7] After the season, Barfield finished eighth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.[8]

In 1983, Barfield hit .253 with 27 home runs and 68 RBI in 128 games.[1] The following year, he increased his average to .284 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI in 110 games.[1] Barfield combined with George Bell and Lloyd Moseby to form what many analysts considered the best all-around outfields of the 1980s for the Blue Jays.[3][9]

In 1985, Barfield batted .289 with an on-base percentage of .369 and a slugging percentage of .536, which was 42 percent higher than the league average or adjusted OPS+. He hit for both power and speed, with 27 home runs, 84 RBI, 22 stolen bases, 22 assists and achieved 6.8 Wins Above Replacement.[1][10] His batting average was a career-high, and he became the first Blue Jays player to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the same season. That season Toronto reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.[11] In his only playoff competition—the American League Championship Series (ALCS)—Barfield batted .280 with one home run, 4 RBI, and one stolen base in the Blue Jays' seven-game loss to the Kansas City Royals.[1]

Despite the Blue Jays' failure to defend their 1985 division title, Barfield enjoyed his best personal season in 1986. He collected career-highs in batting average (.289, tying the previous season), 40 home runs, 108 RBI, 107 runs, 170 hits, 35 doubles, and wRC+ (147). His 40 homers led the major leagues and set a team record that lasted one year. Also, Barfield won both a Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award, and he was selected to the American League All-Star team.[1]

The 1987 season saw Barfield play in a career-high 159 games, hitting .263 with 28 home runs and 84 RBI.[1] He also won his second Gold Glove that year. The following year, his average dipped to .244 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 137 games.[1] In 1989, he began the season batting just .200 with five home runs (out of 16 total hits) and 11 RBI in 28 games.[1]

New York Yankees (1989–1992)

On April 30, 1989, Barfield was traded to the New York Yankees for pitcher Al Leiter.[12] Barfield finished the 1989 season with the Yankees, and his average increased slightly to .240, with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 129 games.[1] In 1990, he hit .246 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI in 153 games, but he never produced quite like the club had hoped.[1] In 1991, Barfield hit just .225, although he produced 17 home runs and 48 RBI in 84 games for a Yankees team that was one of the worst in recent history.[1][13]

By 1992, injuries and general ineffectiveness forced his retirement at the age of 32, after he hit just .137 (13-for-95) with two home runs and 7 RBI in 30 games.[1] He was granted free agency on November 4.[1]

While with the Yankees, Barfield was a resident of Tenafly, New Jersey.[14]

Final years

In 1993, Barfield played in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, reuniting with Lloyd Moseby, but he batted just .215 with 26 home runs and 53 RBI in 104 games.[15]

Barfield joined the Houston Astros for spring training in 1994 and was projected to be the opening-day right-fielder, but injuries prevented him from making the team.

Career overview

Throughout his career, Barfield was a free swinger and racked up more than 140 strikeouts in each of five seasons (1985–1987, 1989, and 1990).[1] For most of his time in the Major Leagues, his productivity overshadowed his strikeouts; however, by 1990, one in three of Barfield's at bats resulted in a strikeout.

Barfield was a career .256 hitter with 241 home runs, 716 RBI, and a 39.4 WAR in 1,428 games.[1] He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2023, Barfield was elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.[16]

Later life

Barfield's elder son, Josh, is a former infielder with the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians.[17] Another son, Jeremy, was selected by the New York Mets during the 2006 draft. Jeremy opted to attend San Jacinto Community College instead and was drafted again in 2008 by the Oakland Athletics. He spent eight seasons in the Athletics' and Colorado Rockies' minor league systems and two independent leagues before joining the Boston Red Sox organization in 2017.[18]

On August 22, 2006, the Associated Press reported that Barfield was taken to a hospital after he suffered a head injury when he was allegedly shoved down a flight of lower stairs by his son, Jeremy, during a family argument. The incident also resulted in Jeremy's arrest on a Class A misdemeanor charge of family assault.[19]

In 2007 and 2008, Barfield served as a color commentator for Blue Jays games on CBC. Currently, he works at Competitive Edge Sports in The Woodlands, Texas.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Jesse Barfield statistics and history". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  2. ^ James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The Free Press. 2001. p. 299.
  3. ^ a b c Allen, Malcolm. "Jesse Barfield". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "9th Round of the 1977 MLB June Amateur Draft". Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  5. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays vs Chicago White Sox Box Score: September 3, 1981". September 3, 1981. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  6. ^ "Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays Box Score: April 24, 1982". April 24, 1982. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  7. ^ "RED SOX DEFEAT BLUE JAYS, 8-7". The New York Times. United Press International. April 25, 1982. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  8. ^ "1982 Awards Voting". Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  9. ^ Murphy, Blake (June 7, 2013). "Was Jesse Barfield One of the Best Outfielders Ever?". Bluebird Banter. SB Nation. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Keri, Jonah (June 29, 2017). "How Bell, Moseby, Barfield stack up against greatest MLB outfields". Sportsnet. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Schlueter, Roger (December 2, 2010). "Stat Speak: Tribe kings of 20-20 outfielders". Cleveland Indians. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  12. ^ Chass, Murray (May 1, 1989). "Leiter's 'Great Future' will be as a Jay". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "1991 New York Yankees Statistics". Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  14. ^ Rowe, John (May 25, 1992). "BARFIELD'S INJURY STALLS TRADE TALK". The Record. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. Put all those Jesse Barfield trade rumors on hold.... The veteran outfielder told Yankees manager Buck Showalter that he had fallen in the sauna in his Tenafly home on Saturday night.
  15. ^ "Jesse Barfield Minor & Japanese Leagues Statistics". Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  16. ^ "Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to welcome Barfield, Boucher, Harden, Wiwchar". Sportsnet. The Canadian Press. February 1, 2023. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  17. ^ "Josh Barfield Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Rookie Status & More". Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  18. ^ "Jeremy Barfield Minor, Winter, Mexican & Independent Leagues Statistics". Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "Reports: Barfield taken to hospital after fight with son". ESPN. August 21, 2006. Retrieved March 10, 2010.