RIP to Dan Winters, head of business development for Amazon Digital Games. He has died from cancer at the age of 55. Before he became a big name in digital gaming, he was trying to make it in the very real world of baseball. Winters spent four seasons in the minor leagues, playing in the Indians, Giants and Mets organizations.
“It always goes back to baseball with me,” Winters said in 2016, according to his obituary on VentureBeat. “My claim to fame was I was traded for Dusty Baker in 1985.”
Winters played college baseball at Indiana University and was drafted as a catcher by the Oakland A’s in the 11th round of the 1984 Amateur Draft. He hit .262 with 7 home runs that year while playing for the Medford A’s. Traded to San Francisco before the 1985 season, he hit .286 in 81 games for the Fresno Giants. He split time in 1986-7 in the Giants and Mets minor leagues. He struggled at the AA level for both orgs, hitting a combined .226 at AA. He quit baseball after 1987 with a .266 minor-league batting average and 12 home runs. He also had a good .984 fielding percentage behind the plate.
When it came to gaming, Winters worked for most of the big names in the business, including Disney Interactive, Activision, Warner Bros. and Electronic Arts. He was the executive producer for Medal of Honor. He spent the last four years at Amazon Digital Games and helped promote its Lumberyard game engine.