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.
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.