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. He will make his debut September 16, 1964. As a rookie, he batted .313 (5-for-16) with three runs, one double, and stole a base.
June 23, 1964 Willie Crawford, 17-year-old prize plum from Fremont, signs Dodger contract calling for $100,000 bonus as Al Campanis, director of scouting for Dodgers, beams approval. Crawford 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.