Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cards That Never Were: Herb Washington Topps 1976

Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players who were missed in various sets over the years.  It is a concept I have borrowed from too many others to list, but I appreciate all of them.
Herb Washington had one of the most interesting baseball careers of all time.  He is the only player to receive a baseball card with his position listed as "Pinch Runner."  Being that all he did was pinch run, Topps really had no other choice.
The very fast Washington held the world record in both the 50 yard and 60 yard dash, while he attended Michigan State.  He also was used sparingly as a wide receiver for the Spartans.
After Oakland A's Manager Alvin Dark saw him compete in a track meet on television, Washington was invited to Spring Training in 1974 and made the team, despite having no real basseball experience.  The plan was to use him strictly as a pinch runner.
In 1974, he appeared in 92 games, scoring 29 runs and stealing 29 bases.  He was caught stealing 16 times.  That 64% success rate wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.
He was released early in the 1975 season, after appearing in only 13 games.  He scored 4 runs, had 2 stolen bases and was caught once.
His baseball career was over, but he would forever be remembered for his novelty.  He is the only non-pitcher to appear in over 100 games and never bat.  He was offered an at-bat at one point, but he declined.  He felt the significance of his career as such would be more memorable than the thrill of one at bat.
Despite the fact that he was released in May of 1975, I decided to create a virtual card for Washington for the 1976 set.  This is (obviously) a career capper for Washington.  I had to create a "runner" figure for the card, as all other cards had positional figures.  It is also very similar to his 1975 card, but because of his uniqueness and the lack of pictures in general, it isn't surprising.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

Cool custom! Always enjoy seeing the Coliseum that I remember from my childhood in the background of a baseball card. There's a small chance I was at one of the games where Washington stole a base (or got caught). Although I was only a little kid and don't actually remember any specific games from that era.