Herb Washington

Herb Washington

Infobox MLB retired
name=Herb Washington

caption=Washington on his 1975 Topps baseball card
position=Pinch runner
birthdate=birth date and age|1951|11|16
debutdate=April 4
debutteam=Oakland Athletics
finaldate=May 4
finalteam=Oakland Athletics
stat1label=Games played
stat3label=Stolen bases
*Oakland Athletics (1974-1975)

Herbert Lee (Hurricane Herb) Washington (born November 16, 1951 in Belzoni, Mississippi) became one of the world's most celebrated sprinters as a student-athlete at Flint Central High School and Michigan State University.cite web | url = http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Herb_Washington | title = Player Page | publisher = BaseballHistory.com | accessdate = 2007-11-11] He went on to gain further recognition as a player for Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, despite his lack of previous baseball experience.cite web | url = http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/washihe01.shtml | title = Player Page | publisher = Baseball-Reference.com | accessdate = 2007-11-11]

Washington first caught the attention of sports fans when he was enrolled at Michigan State. The four-time all-American won one NCAA title, seven Big Ten titles, and tied or broke the world record in the 50- and 60-yard dashes several times.

Pro baseball career

In by|1974, Washington was tapped by Oakland owner Charlie Finley to become the A's "designated runner." Despite having no professional baseball experience, and having last played baseball in high school, Washington was a member of the Athletics 1974 World Series championship team. His major league debut was on April 4, 1974 against the Texas Rangers.

Appearing as a pinch-runner for Joe Rudi in game two of the 1974 World Series, Washington was picked off first base in a crucial ninth-inning situation by Dodgers' reliver Mike Marshall.

Washington played in 105 major league games without batting, pitching, or fielding, playing exclusively as a pinch runner. He had 31 stolen bases in 48 attempts and scored 33 runs during his short career, numbers which were relatively low considering his great speed. He was released one month into the by|1975 season.

Washington's 1975 Topps baseball card (pictured above) is the only baseball card ever released that uses the "pinch runner" position label.

Business career

Following his baseball career, Washington joined the pro track circuit and remained in competition until 1976. Today he is a successful businessman, owning several McDonald's franchises in the Youngstown and Cleveland, Ohio areas, in addition to a recent acquisition in Western Pennsylvania.

In the late 1990s, he purchased all the Youngstown, Ohio area McDonald's franchises from Sam Covelli, once the largest McDonalds franchise owner in the United States. In 2006, he added another McDonalds to his holdings, purchasing a Greenville, Pennsylvania McDonalds from an independent owner.

In 2005, he became the owner of the Youngstown Steelhounds minor league hockey franchise, which plays in the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. The following year, he sold several of his Youngstown-area McDonald's franchises to John Perdue, who turned them into 24/7 operations.

Washington currently resides in the Youngstown suburb of Boardman, OH with his wife and children.


*Washington was actually the second of six players that Finley's Athletics used as a pinch-running specialist during the 1970's. Of those 6, however, Washington was the only player who served exclusively as a pinch runner; the others played the field and batted at some point during their tenures. Before Washington was released in 1975, Oakland actually had three such players on the roster at the same time.
*Washington's cousin, George Hoey, was an all-Big Ten defensive back at the University of Michigan and played five seasons in the NFL.


External links

* [http://z.lee28.tripod.com/sbnsforgottenintime/id24.html Forgotten in Time]

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