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Former 89er Washington now leading Rangers

By Bob Hersom Published: March 28, 2008

/> So Washington put on the catcher's gear for the first time in 16 years.

"I signed as a catcher. That was my first position,” Washington said, "but it was taken away from me because I could never pick up weight.”

Until '90, Washington hadn't pitched in his first 19 seasons of pro ball.

"I had never done that before, but I was the veteran on the team,” Washington said, "so they asked me to do it and I went out and did it. I gave up a home run, and the guy who hit it off me, I don't remember his name, but I remember that was the only home run he hit all year. It was some little guy. But he got me, he certainly did.”

Washington spent 10 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Dodgers, Twins, Orioles, Indians and Astros.

After retiring as a player Washington was a manager or coach in the New York Mets' minor-league system for five years, then a coach for the Oakland Athletics for 11 seasons.

Coming back to Oklahoma City will bring back memories, both good and bad, for Washington.

"I heard the ballpark is beautiful, that's for sure,” Washington said. "Unlike the other one (All Sports Stadium, where he played) at the fairgrounds.”

He laughed a little at that memory. Overall, though, his season in Oklahoma City was no laughing matter.

"I remember the (kids baseball) clinics we gave, I certainly remember that,” Washington said. "I always remember the times I help people.

"But as far as memories of me having a good time on the baseball field, that was a very tough year for me.”

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington played one season in Oklahoma City with the 89ers. Associated Press

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