Classic card of the week

Claudell Washington, 1989 Score

Claudell Washington -- seen here playing cricket -- is still waiting for his Yankeeography. One would imagine (myself being that one) that production is already under way, and that John Sterling is wearing an ascot and berating an intern for spelling Claudell with only one “L” on the cue cards. Besides, although he was only a Yankee for three of his 37 career seasons, he made quite an impact:

Claudell, who can win games with his bat, glove and fleet feet…

Over 90% of the Yankees’ 89 total victories during the 1987 season can be attributed directly to one of the three outstanding facets of Claudell Washington’s baseball prowess. For example, his 10 fleet-footed stolen bases that season were all steals of home in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, which coined the term “walk off steal” that has become so popular today. So that’s 10 wins right there. He also used his glove on occasion. We’ll give him 30 wins for that. And I think it’s fairly obvious from the above card that Claudell Washington was pretty adept with the bat, rarely chasing pitches out of the zone. That’s good for like, 13 wins. Somebody do the math on that.

But the sheer awesomeness of Claudell Washington could not be measured with mere percentages and wins alone. To wit:

…gave the Yankees a lot of quality time in center field in 1988.

Now, the Yankees have had no shortage of legendary center fielders. But really -- how many of those guys truly gave the Yankees quality time in the middle of the outfield? The answer to that question is zero. Unless you count Claudell Washington, in which case the answer is: One, Claudell Washington. You see, Claudell Washington paid attention to center field. He took it out to dinner. Watched movies with it. On certain homestands he would talk to center field all night long. He made sweet love to center field. Most importantly, he listened to center field. You think Mickey Mantle gave a crap about center field? Pfftt. Ask center field what it felt like to get barfed on by Mantle two innings into a doubleheader after a night of debauchery with his buddies, a night that didn’t include -- surprise! -- center field.

Claudell Washington would try his hand at acting when he appeared in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He played himself and his only line was hitting a foul ball, which, Washington would later claim, was easy because he wasn’t acting and it was actual game footage.

Did you know?
In 1990, after center field told Claudell Washington, “We need to talk,” he knew it was time to retire.