Kenny Washington

From BR Bullpen

Kenneth Stanley Washington

  • Height 6' 1", Weight 212 lb.

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Kenny Washington was a sports trailblazer.

The first African-American to play baseball at UCLA, Washington hit .454 in 1937 and .350 in 1938. He also starred in football, running for a UCLA-record 1,914 career yards (the mark stood for 34 years); Jackie Robinson was his football teammate in 1939. George Halas tried to sign him for the NFL's Chicago Bears but he was stopped from integrating the NFL. Washington played in a lesser league. When the NFL re-integrated in 1946 (there had been no African-Americans since 1933; interestingly, one of the first two black NFL players had also played pro baseball - Bobby Marshall), Washington spent three years with the Los Angeles Rams. He did okay, but was no star, running for 859 yards in three seasons. In 1947, his 444 yards rushing were fourth in the NFL. He then tried his hand at baseball, which had been integrated by former UCLA teammate and fellow pioneer Robinson. A decade after he had played college ball, he fared poorly in his short career, going 1 for 8 with a walk and four strikeouts for the 1950 Los Angeles Angels and making one error in four tries at third base. He wasn't the only NFL pioneer who finished his sports career in pro baseball; Wally Yonamine, the first Asian-American NFL player, would go on to a productive baseball career.

He later worked for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Washington came from a notable baseball family. His father Blue Washington played in the Negro Leagues, his son Kenny Washington Jr. made it to AAA and grandson Kraig Washington also played professionally.