Howard Bryant of ESPN reported this morning that Claudell Washington, who played for seven teams in a seventeen-year big league career, has passed away at the age of 65. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Washington had been in declining health for several years.
Washington, a native of Berkeley, California, came up in the Oakland A’s system, making his big league debut at age 19 in 1974. He’d take part in that postseason, playing in the ALCS and the World Series, where he went 4-for-7 while helping Oakland defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. In only his second season he was an American League All-Star, hitting .308/.345/.424 while stealing 40 bases for the A’s, once again helping them win their division before they lost the 1975 ALCS to the Red Sox.
The A’s would trade Washington to the Rangers before the 1977 season, he’d be traded to the White Sox a little over a year later, and then would be dealt to the Mets where he’d finish out the second half of the 1980 season before hitting free agency. Once a free agent he’d sign with the Atlanta Braves where he enjoyed his longest tenure, manning the outfield in Atlanta from 1981 through the middle of the 1986 season, playing a key role in their 1982 NL West championship and making the All-Star team again in 1984.
The Braves traded Washington to the New York Yankees for Ken Griffey midway through the 1986 campaign. He’d stay in New York through 1988, play with the Angels for 1989 and part of the 1990 season before finishing his career back in the Bronx for 33 games in late 1990.
Overall Washington hit .278/.325/.420 with 164 career home runs and 824 RBI over 1,912 games in 17 seasons.