Contributions extra sweet for Barfield

Contributions extra sweet for Barfield

TORONTO -- Anytime a player can do for his team what the Indians' Josh Barfield accomplished in Monday night's win over the Blue Jays, he has the right to feel proud.

But a day after the 12-inning affair, which the Tribe won, 9-7, Barfield was feeling just an extra hint of pride. That's because of the speedy utilityman's longtime connection to the city of Toronto.

After coming into the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning, Barfield proceeded to score the tying run. Then, in the 12th inning of the back-and-forth contest, Barfield notched a single that broke a 6-6 tie, which gave way to an Indians rally that secured the win.

Barfield, the son of former Blue Jays star Jesse Barfield, spent the first nine years of his life in Toronto. Though he was born in Venezuela during his mother's two-week winter-ball visit with his father, Toronto was really the younger Barfield's first home.

"I love coming back here," Barfield said. "It's probably my favorite place to play. I spend a lot of time up here and I've got family that lives up here now. It's a great city and I've got a lot of memories up here, so it's always fun to come back."

The elder Barfield was a fan favorite in Toronto, having played for the Jays for nine years (1981-89). Barfield became revered in the city for his steady defense and superior arm, as well as his potent bat. The outfielder ranks fifth on Toronto's all-time home run list with 179.

As recently as last year, he was a commentator for the CBC, which televised a handful of Jays games.

Barfield said that every time he visits the city, he fields questions about his father.

"People always ask me about my dad up here -- what he's doing, how he's doing," he said. "I think he had a great relationship with the fans, and the fact that he played here so long and was so successful, I think is a big part of it."

The 26-year-old Barfield said that his dad makes a point to speak with him on a daily basis, offering tips and advice, in addition to lending an ear.

"We talk every day," Barfield said. "He watches every game, so if he sees something, then he knows better than anybody what to tell me, because he's been watching me my whole life."

Naturally, the two also talked after Barfield's stellar performance on Monday night.

"He just said, 'That-a-boy, good job,'" Barfield said with a smile. "So it's pretty cool."

David Singh is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.