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Chavez's Golden gift
04/07/2004  3:16 AM ET
OAKLAND -- A's infield coach Ron Washington thought it was a joke.

He knows that his players like and respect him, but when he arrived at his locker after Monday night's game he just assumed he was the victim of a clubhouse prank. Sitting on his stool was the Gold Glove trophy with which Eric Chavez was presented earlier in the evening as the best-fielding third baseman in the American League.

"I said, 'Oh, come on, now,'" Washington recalled Tuesday. "I just knew someone was pulling my chain."

Then he noticed something. The Gold Glove was signed by Chavez, and it was personalized with a little expression of thanks to Washington.

This was no joke. Chavez, whose first two Gold Gloves are at his mother's house, really did give No. 3 to Washington, and the coach was understandably emotional about it.

   Eric Chavez  /   3B
Born: 12/07/77
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
"It meant a lot, man. A whole lot," Washington said. "That's one hell of a gesture right there. Just a classy move. I'll never forget that. Just classy as hell."

Chavez, who had a clubhouse attendant place the trophy in Washington's locker immediately after he accepted it from former A's star Carney Lansford in a pregame ceremony, said the gift was the least he could do to show his appreciation.

"I guess it was pretty unexpected," Chavez said, "but nobody deserves it more than Wash. He puts in more work than anyone around here, and he kind of befriended me from the day I got here. ... I just wanted him to know how much love I have for him. I just wanted to say thanks in some small way."

It wasn't small to Washington, who spent 10 years in the big leagues but never approached the level of stardom he's helped Chavez achieve.

"I told him, 'This is the only way I'm ever going to get a Gold Glove,'" Washington said with a chuckle.

Washington also told Chavez that a coach didn't deserve such an extravagant gift, but Chavez wasn't having it.

"He tried to tell me that I had done all the work, that I earned it between the lines," Chavez said. "But I told him, 'You know what, Wash? Sometimes the whole story isn't told between the lines. You deserve this as much as I do.'"

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.