MAY 5, 1975
On this date
in baseball history, the
Oakland A’s released
after a loss to the
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
in 1951, was a four-time all-American sprinter at
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
Charley Finley’s experiments.
There were many. Some worked. Some didn’t:
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)
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