U L Washington

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U. L. Washington

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Biographical Information[edit]

U L Washington played 11 seasons in the big leagues, stealing 132 bases and appearing in the 1980 World Series.

Washington was signed as a free agent by the Kansas City Royals in 1972 after an open tryout and went through their short-lived "Baseball Academy". He was one of several players from the academy to make it to the major leagues - others include Frank White, Ron Washington and Jeff Cox. U L played in the minors from 1973-1977. He was with the Omaha Royals from 1975-1977 and stole 39 bases in 1977.

After making his big league debut with Kansas City in September 1977, Washington spent most of 1978 and 1979 in a utility role with the club. On September 21, 1979, he had his best game in the majors, going 4 for 5 with 2 home runs (one from each side of the plate) and 6 RBI. He became the team's regular shortstop in 1980 and hit .364 for the Royals in the 1980 ALCS.

He is best remembered for his always present toothpick. UL always played with a blade of Bermuda grass in his mouth in high school. He kept up the habit in the minor leagues. Kansas City had artificial turf, so the toothpick was his adaptation to not having a blade of grass available.

He went 12-for-18 off Gaylord Perry, the best anyone ever did off the Hall of Famer in that many at bats. The two were teammates with the Royals for part of the 1983 season.

"U L" is not short for anything. His given name is U L Washington.

He was the manager of the Welland Pirates in 1989. After the season, he played for the Orlando Juice of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He hit .338 in 68 games for the club and stole 21 bases. In 1990, he played for the San Bernardino Pride of the SPBA. He played in 24 games, batting .284 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI before the league folded.

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