Friday, August 28, 2009

1976 Topps #189 - Claudell Washington

  • Claudell Washington had a long career from 1974-1990 playing for seven teams. He was one of the youngest players ever to be named to an All Star team (20 in 1975).

  • Washington started in short-season A ball in the Oakland A's organization as a 17-year-old in 1972. After hitting .361 in half a season at AA Birmhingham, Claudell was called up to the A's and made his debut on July 5, 1974. He batted .285 in 73 games as an outfielder and DH.

  • Claudell had a big year in 1975. He made the All Star team and was 11th in AL MVP voting. Washington batted .308 with 10 homers, 77 RBI, and 40 stolen bases in 148 games. Here is a March 1975 Baseball Digest article about Washington. He tailed off in 1976 (.257 with five HR and 37 stolen bases in 134 games) and was traded to the Texas Rangers for Jim Umbarger, Rodney Scott, and cash during spring training in 1977.

  • Washington bounced back in 1977 and batted .284 with 12 HR and 68 RBI. He started off slowly in 1978 (.167 in 42 at bats) and was traded with Rusty Torres to the Chicago White Sox for Bobby Bonds. Claudell took four days to report to the White Sox. His excuse was that he overslept. He ended up batting .253 in 93 games for the two teams. Claudell had a good year for the White Sox in 1979 (.280, 13 HR, 66 RBI).

  • In 1980 Washington was on the move again. He started with the White Sox and was traded to the New York Mets for a minor leaguer on June 7. For the White Sox and Mets, he batted .278 with 11 HR and 54 RBI. At the end of the 1980 season Washington became a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves.

  • Washington spent more time with the Braves (1981-1986) than he did with any other team. During that time he batted between .266 and .291 and made the NL All Star Team in 1984. His power and stolen base numbers were up and down. Claudell's best year for the Braves was 1984 when he batted .286 with 17 HR and 61 RBI. Claudell talked about his drug abuse in a February 1984 article. Washington was ordered by a judge to go to a drug diversion program in October 1985 rather than go on trial for marijuanna possession.

  • On June 30, 1986 Claudell was traded by the Braves with Paul Zuvella to the New York Yankees for Ken Griffey and Andre Robertson. He finished 1986 with the Yankees and played for them through the 1988 season. Washington was the starting center fielder in 1988 and had one of his better years (.308, 11 HR, 64 RBI). After the season Washington was granted free agency and signed with the Califorina Angels.

  • In 1990 Claudell played in 110 games for the Angels and batted .273 with 13 HR and 42 RBI. He played 12 games for the Angels in 1991 and then was traded back to the Yankees for Luis Polonia. He finished the '91 season as a pinch hitter for the Yankees and was released after the season.

  • Washington was one of the few players to hit three home runs in a game for teams in both leagues. He did it for the White Sox in 1979 and for the Mets in 1980.

  • Washington struck out 39 times against Nolan Ryan, which was the most of any batter.

  • Claudell loved to face Bob Welch (.301 with 5 HR in 73 AB) and Fergie Jenkins (.300 in 60 AB) and hated to face Nolan Ryan (.144 and 0 HR in 90 AB) and Jim Palmer (.152 in 46 AB).


  1. My one recollection about all of Claudell Washington's cards is that they had to scrunch up the font on the fronts and backs in order to fit his entire name.

  2. Claudell Washington was not well-liked by Sox fans. He got about as much love as Milton Bradley is now getting from Cubs fans. I remember the Sox Supporters in the outfield grandstands had a sign that said "Washington Slept Here."