Willie Murphy Crawford (September 7, 1946 in Los Angeles, California – August 27, 2004 in Los Angeles, California) was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played with Los Angeles Dodgers (1964–1975), St. Louis Cardinals (1976), Houston Astros (1977) and Oakland Athletics (1977). Crawford was born in Los Angeles, California. He batted and threw left-handed. He was the father of former UCLA football DB Willie Crawford who graduated from Beverly Hills H.S. in 1988.
Crawford was a great all-around athlete at Fremont H.S. in Los Angeles. He was All-City in both football (1963) and baseball. With 9.7 speed in 100 yards, he was a highly recruited running back by colleges to play football. But long-time Dodger Tommy Lasorda, who was then a scout, signed Crawford for the Dodgers for $100,000 two days after he graduated from high school in 1964. Because of the Bonus Rule in existence at the time, Crawford had to play for the Dodgers' major league team in both 1964 and 1965.
As a major league baseball player, defensively, he played in a shallow manner, so as to cut down on potential Texas leaguers. Crawford's strong arm was able to cut down ambitious baserunners. Also, he was able to get a good jump on the ball and used his full speed to track down deep fly balls.
By Dean Hanley
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