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- JULY 3, 2003

As a kid growing up in Kansas City, there were a few constants in my life: Great barbecue, playing sports year-round, and straining to see longtime Royals shortstop U.L. Washington’s toothpick every time I watched the Royals play.

Glenn Miller of the FORT MYERS NEWS-PRESS reports that sadly, U.L.’s toothpick has apparently gone on the permanent D.L..

Washington, now the hitting coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox, spent 11 years in the majors as owner of the unique on-field trademark. As a player, U.L. chewed the toothpick during games as a subsitute for tobacco. Now outside the lines, he preaches a ‘pick-free existence.

Washington: "You don’t realize if you swallow you could die."

Almost as strange as the toothpick toting is Washington’s first "name." U.L. doesn’t stand for anything. His parents just stamped the letters on his birth certificate and never provided an explanation.