HEADLINE

Former Royals INF UL Washington dies at 70

Field Level Media

March 04, 2024 at 4:31 pm.

Former major league middle infielder UL Washington, who was known for his time playing in Kansas City and his trademark toothpick, died over the weekend after a reported bout with cancer. He was 70 years old.

Washington played 11 seasons with three teams, most notably the Royals from 1977-84. His two-out single in the ninth inning of a game in July 1983 against the New York Yankees set up the infamous “Pine Tar” incident involving his teammate George Brett.

“So sorry to hear my friend my team mate UL washington has died of cancer he was a great player I will always be thankful of our time together with the royals,” Brett said in a post to X on Monday.

Washington hit .251 with 27 home runs, 255 RBIs and 132 stolen bases in 907 career games with the Royals, Montreal Expos (1985) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-87). He helped Kansas City win its first American League pennant in 1980.

But he might best known for playing with a toothpick in his mouth.

“I’d much rather be remembered as a pretty good player, but I realize most people will remember me as the guy with the toothpick,” Washington told the Oklahoman in 1988.