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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WHEN IT WAS AN ALL-STAR GAME by Claudell Washington

Former two-time All-Star Claudell Washington remembers his first trip to the Midsummer Classic.

djordan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: all-star game

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. I Am Not a Number Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4178592)
The past... it's just so pink!
   2. My Grate Friend Peason's pants are rankled Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4178606)
All caps titles just makes me laugh because I think of Chass'.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4178610)
If you get past the headline, it's a nice recollection of how much Claudell enjoyed his first time as an all-star. The "in my day" stuff is at a minimum (and, I think, probably accurate about how the game has changed).

   4. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4178615)
He seems like a cool guy. Thirty years ago, I thought his name was Claudett because of a combination of bad TV reception and bad eyes.
   5. depletion Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4178623)
You can't spell Claudell without D L.

"I opened the All-Star game letter, unfortunately getting a paper cut on my throwing hand."
   6. dr. scott Posted: July 10, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4178638)
Damnit. My company blocks this site. I loved watching CW in right field when I was growing up in Atlanta. He and Pascual Perez made the early to mid 80's braves almost worth watching for thier off field activities alone.
   7. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: July 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4178669)
The "in my day" stuff is at a minimum

And even where it is, it's more just an observation that things aren't the same as they were. It wasn't what I expected at all. Just a nice little reminiscing.
   8. djordan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4178674)
First things first - @ My Grate, I hear you on the CAPS. We'll make sure that doesn't happen with our articles going fwd. Thanks for pointing that out. @ Long Arm - he's a super-cool guy. Other players we deal with have said the exact same thing. @ Dr. Scott, sorry we're blocked. We're a new site, it's understandable. Hopefully, as we establish ourselves, this won't be an issue. My email is dj@instreamsports.com. Shoot me a msg and I'll be personally glad to shoot you the text. Thanks for reading guys, means to world to us, and thanks BBTF for supporting our efforts.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: July 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4178678)
And even where it is, it's more just an observation that things aren't the same as they were. It wasn't what I expected at all. Just a nice little reminiscing.


Exactly. Not "it was better," just pointing out the changes that happened (some of which, he notes, occurred between his first and second visits).

   10. tjm1 Posted: July 10, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4178771)
Does anyone know Washington's story? According to BBREF, he was undrafted. He then made the majors at age 19. How does something like this happen? Was scouting really that bad back then? Or was there something unusual about him.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4178786)
From the BBRef Bullpen...and damn, how does this happen?


Washington did not play high school baseball. Instead, he was discovered by the Oakland Athletics playing sandlot ball in Berkeley, California, and signed with the club as a 17 year old in 1972.


I'm not sure what's most amazing about that. That a player of such ability wasn't playing high school ball or the A's somehow found him playing what sounds like a very good pickup game.
   12. djordan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4178790)
According to the 1976 Complete Handbook of Baseball, he didn't play HS ball, was discovered by a part-time A's scout IN Babe Ruth league-type Baseball, who signed him for $3k. Washington was a speedster at first, Finley was enamored with speed. Through his natural talents, he progressed rapidly and Oakland needed 4-5th OF/DH depth in '74 and brought him up.
   13. tjm1 Posted: July 10, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4178820)
Wow. Fascinating. My guess was that he was a football guy who decided at the last minute he'd rather play baseball. I never would have guessed this.

The Ron Leflore story is the only odder one I can think of in the post-draft era.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4178847)
while i do understand that there are demands on the player and they can be taxing i am glad that things such as letting guys leave before the game even finishes have been weeded out. that's just poor form

players like positive attention so they might want to consider highlighting guys once they have been to more than 10 all star games or some such.

like at weddings they sometimes have everyone who has been married more than 25 years stand up and then they ask at 5 year intervals for folks to sit down so you are left with one or two couples who have been married for a 100 years who all get a big hand.

they could have the multiple year guys be in a group and then weed them down to where you have one or two guys remaining

i think that could have some appeal to some players. all star game already takes longer than a yankee game. what's another few minutes to give a jeter or chipper jones a rousing ovation for being to umpteen all star games?
   15. Del B. Vista Posted: July 10, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4178874)
Washington hit the foul ball to Ferris Bueller.

I saw him play minor league ball for the Birmingham A's. I could have sworn there was a part of his discovery story of him joining a buddy who was too scared to go to a tryout by himself. As I remember it, Washington drew the interest instead of his friend. I cannot find any verification of this story online, so I may have him confused with somebody else.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: July 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4178894)
My company blocks this site.
"The neck you have used to view this website is too short."
   17. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: July 10, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4178899)
Wow. Fascinating. My guess was that he was a football guy who decided at the last minute he'd rather play baseball. I never would have guessed this.


Did Washington go to school in Oakland? If so, did his high school even *have* a baseball team in the early 1970s?
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4178920)
That a player of such ability wasn't playing high school ball or the A's somehow found him playing what sounds like a very good pickup game.


It could be his HS didn't have a team. Frank White didn't play HS ball, because his school didn't have a team, but he played in semi-pro leagues as a teenager. According to this article Washington had played baseball most of his life.
   19. BDC Posted: July 10, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4178962)
According to Cardboard Gods, Washington went to Berkeley HS; I'm guessing they had a baseball team, and the story says he ran track and played basketball there.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: July 10, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4178981)
Did Washington go to school in Oakland? If so, did his high school even *have* a baseball team in the early 1970s?


Not sure what this question and/or joke is about, but Oakland has produced a ton of great baseball players over the years. Rickey Henderson, Gary Pettis, Lloyd Moseby and Dave Stewart all played in the Oakland system in the 70s.
   21. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 10, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4178993)
Here's the explanation of why Washington did not play high school ball:

In the early seventies, Washington had elected not to play baseball at Berkeley High School, as an expression of his dislike for extracurricular activities. Washington’s self-imposed exile from scholastic baseball prevented most major league scouts from learning his identity. Jim Guinn, a part-time Oakland scout who happened to live in Berkeley, visited the school’s athletic department and asked for a list of students who possessed the most athletic ability, but had not tried out for the baseball team. Informed of the 17-year-old Washington, Guinn contacted him immediately. “He’s a loner,” Guinn said of Washington in an interview with Bay Area sportswriter Glenn Dickey. “Someone had to encourage him.” Guinn took on the role and farm director John Claiborne eventually signed Claudell to a $3,000 bonus.

The Oakland area, by the way, has produced a ton of standout major leaguers: among others, Curt Flood, Vada Pinson, Willie Stargell, Tommy Harper, and I believe, Frank Robinson, all played youth ball in the region.
   22. BWV 1129 Posted: July 10, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4179067)
like at weddings they sometimes have everyone who has been married more than 25 years stand up and then they ask at 5 year intervals for folks to sit down so you are left with one or two couples who have been married for a 100 years who all get a big hand.

I'm sure you invented this so that people would be forced to applaud you.
   23. Sunday silence Posted: July 10, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4179190)
how does a guy who runs track and plays basketball not like extracurricular activities?
   24. Astros Offensive Juggernaut Posted: July 10, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4179256)
"Wow. Fascinating. My guess was that he was a football guy who decided at the last minute he'd rather play baseball. I never would have guessed this.

The Ron Leflore story is the only odder one I can think of in the post-draft era."

I think Art Howe was signed by the Pirates in 1971 at age 24 after playing for a steel mill team. Bruce Dal Canton was signed by the Pirates at age 25 after working as a HS science teacher.
   25. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4179500)
I'm not 100 per cent certain that he actually played basketball or ran track in high school. It's also possible that he might have been on those teams at one point and then decided to quit.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: July 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4179794)
Don't forget Joe Morgan among the Oakland crew (born in Tx though). Morgan's HS alone has produced 6 MLers including Gary Pettis, Von Joshua and Rudy May as guys I've heard of. Eddie Lake managed 3200 PA too {10 WAR too). That's 44 WAR even without Morgan.

   27. tjm1 Posted: July 22, 2012 at 03:32 AM (#4189015)
Don't forget Joe Morgan among the Oakland crew (born in Tx though). Morgan's HS alone has produced 6 MLers including Gary Pettis, Von Joshua and Rudy May as guys I've heard of. Eddie Lake managed 3200 PA too {10 WAR too). That's 44 WAR even without Morgan.


Also don't forget Rickey Henderson. Henderson's high school has produced two MVPs - himself and Jackie Jensen.
   28. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: July 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4189032)
Wow. Fascinating. My guess was that he was a football guy who decided at the last minute he'd rather play baseball. I never would have guessed this.

The Ron Leflore story is the only odder one I can think of in the post-draft era.


I think Washington was signed to be another in a long line of Charlie Finley designated pinch runners, but he ended up showing some real baseball ability, unlike Don Hopkins and Matt Alexander. I may be just conflating him with Herb Washington, but that's what I recall.
   29. bobm Posted: July 22, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4189045)
Other Oakland high school alums in MLB, per BB REF:

Ferris Fain, Dave Stewart, Bip Roberts, Lloyd Moseby, Chick Gandil, Bill Rigney, Curt Flood, Lee Lacy, HOFer Ernie Lombardi


@27 also all-star Cookie Lavagetto

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