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MAY 5 (1975) - DR*
By Billy Grimes
May 5, 2007 - 7:42 PM

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“DR” experiment fails


CHICAGO , ILLINOIS MAY 5, 1975 On this date in baseball history, the Oakland A’s released Herb Washington after a loss to the Chicago White Sox. Washingtonwas a speedster put on the team for one purpose – to run. He appeared in 104 games as a “designated runner” for the A’s, stealing 31 bases in 48 attempts, and scoring 33 runs. He had no at bats, no hits, no runs batted in and a fielding percentage of .000 because the former college sprinter never played in the field.

Herbert Lee Washington, who was born in Belzoni, Mississippi in 1951, was a four-time all-American sprinter at Michigan State University. He tied or broke the world record in the 50 and 60-yard dashes several times.

Having a “designated runner” was just one of maverick Oakland A’s owner Charley Finley’s experiments. There were many. Some worked. Some didn’t:

  • White shoes (worked)
  • Two-tone uniforms (worked)
  • Orange baseballs (didn’t work)
  • Fired second baseman Mike Andrews for making two errors in a World Series game. (didn’t work, the Commissioner ordered Andrews re-instated almost immediately)
  • Released all his high priced stars in 1976 (initially didn’t work, but common practice now)
  • Pushed for designated hitter which has been the standard in the American League for decades.
  • Designated runner (hasn’t been tried since)

Read more:
http://www.todayinbaseballhistory.com/cgi-bin/today/today2S.pl
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_O._Finley http://z.lee28.tripod.com/sbnsforgottenintime/id24.html

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