Longtime major league outfielder Claudell Washington died on Wednesday at age 65.
Washington hit .278/.325/.420, a 106 OPS+ in 17 major league seasons, with 164 home runs, 334 doubles, and 1,884 hits, making two All-Star teams. He played for seven teams, including the Angels in the final two seasons of his career.
The Angels signed Washington to a three-year free agent contract in January 1989, and is one of 10 players in franchise history to hit a home run in his first at-bat with the team, doing so as a pinch hitter against White Sox pitcher Don Pall on April 4, 1989 in Anaheim.
Washington played mostly right field with the Angels, though played all over the outfield throughout his career, starting 284 games in left and 269 in center.
“I’m a jack of all trades,” Washington told the Los Angeles Times upon joining the Angels. “I’ll be ready to play wherever I’m positioned.”
He hit 13 home runs with a 111 OPS+ in 110 games in 1989, but after a 6-for-34 (.176) start in 1990, Washington was traded along with pitcher Rich Monteleone to the Yankees for outfielder Luis Polonia in April.
Washington’s baseball career also lives on forever in film, as part of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’ From Randy Miller of NJ.com:
His movie fame was hitting a foul ball during a Braves-Cubs game at Wrigley Field that was caught by the fictional hookey-playing, teenaged Bueller, who was played by actor Matthew Broderick. The foul ball was hit during a June 5, 1985 game in Chicago, but the filming of Broderick in the stands was from a Sept. 24, 1985 Cubs-Expos game.
- On Wednesday the NCAA removed the 35-man roster limit for Division-1 baseball and eliminated the 25-percent scholarship minimum, all for the 2020-21 academic year, per Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball. This came on the day of the shortest MLB Draft in history, with only five rounds and a $20,000 bonus limit for undrafted players, meaning a large number of players more likely to return to school for next year.
- Craig Edwards at FanGraphs said MLB players took a big step toward compromise with their latest offer, an 89-game season, and now it’s up to the owners to reciprocate.
- Longtime Angels pitcher and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan recorded a public service announcement for Texas, imploring people to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, “Don’t be a knucklehead. Wash your hands, socially distance yourself from others, and wear a mask,” Ryan said.