Claudell Washington, long time major league outfielder and former Texas Ranger, passed away this morning, per reports. Washington was 65.
Washington, a native of California, was signed by the Oakland A’s in 1972 out of Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He was in the majors as a 19 year old in 1974, and made the American League All Star team a year later, in a season where he slashed .308/.345/.424, put up 4.9 bWAR, and finished 14th in the A.L. MVP voting while playing all three outfield positions for the A’s.
After a down 1976 season, Washington was traded to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Rodney Scott, reliever Jim Umbarger, and cash. Washington slashed .283/.318/.420 for the Rangers in 1977, playing primarily left field and center field, and put up a 1.9 bWAR.
After a slow start in 1978, Washington was traded to the Chicago White Sox in May, 1978, along with Rusty Torres for Bobby Bonds. Washington was the ChiSox right fielder until he was dealt to the New York Mets in the middle of the 1980 season.
Washington signed with the Atlanta Braves that offseason as a free agent, and was with Atlanta until June, 1986, when he was dealt to the Yankees in a deal that brought the elder Ken Griffey to Atlanta. Washington stayed with the Yankees through 1988, then joined the California Angels, who traded him back to New York in April, 1990 — his final season in baseball.
Washington never topped his great age 20 season again, but he had a very good career where he ended up tied with, among others, Joe Carter and Jay Bruce for 122th all time among major league right fielders in career bWAR.
Washington also features in a couple of random trivia factoids. He hit the 10,000th home run in Yankees history, in April, 1988, and is the player who hit the foul ball that Ferris Bueller caught in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”