W is for baseball’s Herb Washington

Washington-HerbI was leafing through the book The SABR Baseball List & Record Book. It lists “Baseball’s Most Fascinating Records and Unusual Statistics.” I purchased from Amazon the year it came out, 2007, Amazon tells me, but does not appear to have been updated. Truth is that most of the career records have not changed.

One item early in the book is “More Career Games Played than Plate Appearances by Non-pitchers since 1900 (minimum 100 games).” This is usually a function of a defensive substitution entering the game, replacing a good hitter who is not the best fielder with a good glove man. A guy named Allen Lewis, who I had never heard of, played in 156 games between 1967 and 1973 and had only 31 chances at the plate.

Herb Washington, though, was even more specialized. He played in 105 games in 1974 and 1975, and NEVER had one appearance at the plate. Nor did he ever play on the field. Washington, a track star at Michigan State, was hired by Charles O. Finley, the owner of the Oakland Athletics, to be solely used as a pinch runner. Continue reading “W is for baseball’s Herb Washington”