Monster Card Monday: 1974 Herb Washington


I found this Monster Card in Ed Zack’s Handbook for APBA Baseball Cards and it’s one of the strangest APBA baseball cards issued by the Company.  That’s probably due to the nature of the person behind it.  Herb Washington wasn’t a hitter.  He was one of Charlie Finley’s experiments with the Oakland A’s.  Washington’s role was simply as a pinch runner (APBA even designated him as such for his position).  He did this 92 times in 1974.  He stole 29 bases and crossed the plate 29 times that year. 

1974 Totals 92 0 0 0 29 0 0 0 0 0 29 16 0 0
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/6/2012.


Washington’s card obviously wasn’t meant to hit with.  It was a “steal-on-demand” pinch running card should you need a speedster on the base paths.  The directions were pretty much right on the card.  Should you declare a steal, a roll of the dice would determine if he was safe.  If he was attempting a steal of second, a result of 1-24 meant he was safe.  Third base?  You would need a result of 1-17.

In the Handbook, Ed Zack comments that APBA’s placement of the result numbers was pretty creative.  If you weren’t paying close attention, you might think this is just another (albeit strong) hitting card.  The “power numbers” are right where we expect them.  The steal numbers (11 and 10) are right there at 15 and 25.  Even the 12 is where it should be. 

In Zack’s words: 

“the manner in which the distribution scheme imitates actual play-result positions is very clever; it requires noticing how many error numbers there to be able to see that something fishy is going on”

Herb Washington never did bat (or play the field) in the majors.  His pinch running gig lasted one more year into 1975 but he wasn’t as prolific as the year before, getting into 13 games and stealing 2 bases and scoring 4 runs. 

Thomas Nelshoppen

I am an IT consultant by day and an APBA media mogul by night. My passions are baseball (specifically Illini baseball), photography and of course, APBA. I have been fortunate to be part of the basic game Illowa APBA League since 1980 as well as the BBW Boys of Summer APBA League since 2014. I am slogging through a 1966 NL replay and hope to finish before I die.


  1. Here’s an image of most of the entire page from the handbook, as posted Jan. 29:

  2. That was such a fun card and concept. I had the original 1974 set once upon a time (and somewhere in my archive of stuff piled high from basement floor to ceiling, I probably still do.

    Thanks for the repost!

  3. If you look closly you will notice that the # 1-36 each appear once on the card.
    A similar card to look at is Matt Alexander in 1979. He actually got a few at bats and was 7 for 13.

  4. Looks like either Wikipedia is wrong or APBA is wrong because the birth year says 1951 on wikipedia and 1950 on the APBA card.

  5. I think the card came with a special sheet explaining how to use the card. I saw it reproduced once but haven’t seen it since.

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