Larry “La La” Washington

Born in 1956, Larry Washington’s 28-year softball career began in 1970 when he started playing with the Princeton Stars. His talent was noticed quickly and in 1972 at the age of sixteen he joined the legendary Safaris and coach Claude Rhodes. From 1970 to 1976, he played simultaneously with Safari and the Flamingos until his brother, Sweet Billy Johnson, who played for the Flamingos, put some “sibling pressure” on him to play full-time for the Flamingos. He stayed with them until 1990. He then played for the Flashers, the Bandits, Click, and Bud 45s before ending his career in 1998 with California Gold. Given his outstanding athletic ability, he played a variety of positions depending on the needs of the team, including left and right field, shortstop, and even pitcher. Teammates and opposing players remember his outstanding speed and quickness in covering the outfield and infield. Besides his excellent defensive skills, Larry Washington was known as a top hitter of his era. He could beat out ground balls, hit to gaps in the outfield, and power balls over the heads of outfielders. He credits Larry Kelly, Leonard McKinnon, Jack Kelly, Mike Tallo, and his brother Sweet Billy Johnson as his mentors. For his efforts, he was named MVP at Blue Island in 1983 and at Marshalltown, Iowa with California Gold. Larry Washington lives in Chicago, Illinois.