I’m a stone cold fan of Claudell Washington.
I loved the fact that the contract Ted Turner gave him before the 1981 season sent the writers and his fellow owners into a tizzy. Claudell wanted to be a rich man and Ted made him one and the owners couldn’t stand it. If it hadn’t been for the money Ted threw at Claudell, it’s doubtful that Dave Winfield would have cashed in for as much as he did with the Yankees. The idea that I should dislike Claudell because an owner paid him too much money is fucking stupid.
I loved that so many old school Braves fans complained that Claudell was a loafer. He was a lot of things, but to my eye, he wasn’t a loafer. Claudell played hard, if occasionally reckless, especially on the base paths.
Mostly, I loved Claudell because of the fight he started with Mario Soto. Mario threw at Claudell so Claudell let the bat slip from his hands. He jawed at Soto as he walked towards his bat and went after him, throwing the umpire out of the way. Soto even tried to throw the baseball at Claudell after the fight started! It was great stuff.
Sure, Claudell wasn’t worth the money he was paid, but he wasn’t boring. I was, and I am, a fan.