|2015 Washington Nationals season|
|Established in 1969|
|Based in Washington, D.C. since 2005|
|Major league affiliations|
|Major league titles|
|East Division titles (3)|
|General Manager||Mike Rizzo|
|President of Baseball Operations||Mike Rizzo|
The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are a member of the East division of the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). From 2005 to 2007 the team played in RFK Stadium; since 2008 their home stadium has been Nationals Park, located on South Capitol Street in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River.
The Nationals' name derives from the former Washington baseball team that had the same name (used interchangeably with Senators). Their nickname is "the Nats"—a shortened version that was also used by the old D.C. teams.
An expansion franchise, the club was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, the first major league team in Canada. They were based in Montreal, Quebec, and played their home games at Jarry Park Stadium and later in Olympic Stadium. During the strike-shortened 1981 season, the Expos won a division championship and made their only post-season appearance as a Montreal franchise, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 3–2, in the National League Division Series, but losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3–2, in the National League Championship Series.
The club had its highest winning percentage in the strike-shortened season of 1994, when the team had the best record in baseball. The team's subsequent shedding of players caused fan interest to drop off, and after the 2001 season, MLB considered revoking the team's franchise, along with either the Minnesota Twins or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After being purchased by MLB in 2002, the team was moved before the 2005 season to Washington, D.C. and renamed the Nationals, the first relocation since the second Washington Senators moved to Arlington, Texas, and became the Texas Rangers in 1972.
- 1 History
- 2 People of note
- 3 Season standings
- 4 Minor league affiliations
- 5 Nationals Dream Foundation
- 6 Radio and television
- 7 Nationals vs. Orioles
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Montreal Expos joined the National League in 1969, along with the San Diego Padres, with a majority share held by Charles Bronfman, a major shareholder in Seagram. Named after the Expo 67 World's Fair, the Expos' initial home was Jarry Park. Managed by Gene Mauch, the team lost 110 games in their first season, coincidentally matching the Padres inaugural win-loss record, and continued to struggle during their first decade with sub-.500 seasons.
Starting in 1977, the team's home venue was Montreal's Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Two years later, the team won a franchise-high 95 games, finishing second in the National League East. The Expos began the 1980s with a core group of young players, including catcher Gary Carter, outfielders Tim Raines and Andre Dawson, third baseman Tim Wallach, and pitchers Steve Rogers and Bill Gullickson. The team won its only division championship in the strike-shortened split season of 1981, ending its season with a three games to two loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
The team spent most of the 1980s in the middle of the NL East pack, finishing in third or fourth place in eight out of nine seasons from 1982 to 1990. Buck Rodgers was hired as manager before the 1985 season and guided the Expos to a .500 or better record five times in six years, with the highlight coming in 1987, when they won 91 games. They finished third, but were just four games behind the division-winning Cardinals.
Bronfman sold the team to a consortium of owners in 1991, with Claude Brochu as the managing general partner. Rodgers, at that time second only to Gene Mauch in number of Expos games managed, was replaced partway through the 1991 season. In May 1992, Felipe Alou, a member of the Expos organization since 1976, was promoted to manager, becoming the first Dominican-born manager in MLB history. Alou would become the leader in Expos games managed, while guiding the team to winning records, including 1994, when the Expos, led by a talented group of players including Larry Walker, Moisés Alou, Marquis Grissom and Pedro Martínez, had the best record in the major leagues until the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season. After the disappointment of 1994, Expos management began shedding its key players, and the team's fan support dwindled.
Brochu sold control of the team to Jeffrey Loria in 1999, but Loria failed to close on a plan to build a new downtown ballpark, and did not reach an agreement on television and English radio broadcast contracts for the 2000 season, reducing the team's media coverage.
In November 2001, Major League Baseball's owners voted 28–2 to contract the league by two teams — according to various sources, the Expos and the Minnesota Twins, both of which reportedly voted against contraction. Subsequently, the Boston Red Sox were sold to a partnership led by John W. Henry, owner of the Florida Marlins. In order to clear the way for Henry's group to assume ownership of the Red Sox, Henry sold the Marlins to Loria, and baseball purchased the Expos from Loria. However, as the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, operator of the Metrodome, won an injunction requiring the Twins to play there in 2002, MLB was unable to revoke the Twins franchise, and so had to keep the Twins and Expos as part of the regular season schedule. In the collective bargaining agreement signed with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) in August 2002, contraction was prohibited through to the end of the contract in 2006.
Creation of the Nationals
With contraction no longer an option for the immediate term, MLB began looking for a relocation site for the Expos. Some of the choices included Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Washington, D.C.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Oregon; somewhere in Northern Virginia such as Arlington or Dulles; Norfolk, Virginia; Las Vegas; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Washington and Virginia emerged as the front-runners.
The Expos played their final game on October 3 at Shea Stadium, losing by a score of 8–1 against the New York Mets, the same opponent that the Expos first faced at its start, 35 years earlier. On November 15, a lawsuit by the former team owners against MLB and former majority owner Jeffrey Loria was struck down by arbitrators, bringing to an end all legal actions that would impede a move. The owners of the other MLB teams approved the move to Washington in a 28–1 vote on December 3 (Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos cast the sole dissenting vote).
Washington baseball history revived
Numerous professional baseball teams have called Washington, D.C. home. The Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League, played in the nation's capital from 1901 to 1960 before moving to Minnesota and becoming the Twins. These Senators were owned by Clark Griffith and played in Griffith Stadium. With notable stars including Walter Johnson and Joe Cronin, the Senators won the 1924 World Series and pennants in 1925 and 1933, but were more often unsuccessful and moved to Minnesota for the 1961 season where the team was renamed the Minnesota Twins. A second Washington Senators team (1961–1971) had a winning record only once in their 11 years, though bright spots, such as slugger Frank Howard, earned the love of fans. The second Senators team moved to Arlington, Texas, for the 1972 season and changed their name to the Texas Rangers, and Washington spent the next 33 years without a baseball team.
Although there was some sentiment to revive the name Senators, political considerations factored into the choice of Nationals, a revival of the first American League franchise's "official" nickname used from 1905 to 1956. Politicians and others in the District of Columbia objected to the name Senators because the District of Columbia does not have voting representation in Congress. In addition, the Rangers still owned the rights to the Senators name, although the Nationals were able to acquire the rights to the curly "W" from the Rangers.
Washington, D.C., mayor Anthony A. Williams supported the name "Washington Grays," in honor of the Negro-league team the Homestead Grays (1929-1950), which had been based in Pittsburgh, but played many of their home games in Washington. In the end, the team owners chose the name "Washington Nationals," which had been the official name of the American League's Washington Senators from 1905-1956.
When Ted Lerner took over the club in mid-2006, he hired Stan Kasten as team president. Kasten was widely known as the architect of the Atlanta Braves before and during their run of 14 division titles. Kasten was also the general manager or president of many other Atlanta-area sports teams, including the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers. "The Plan", as it became known, was a long-range rebuilding and restructuring of the team from the ground up. This plan included investing in the farm system and the draft, and having a suitable team to go along with their new stadium.
In the front office, the Nationals hired the well-respected former Arizona scouting director Mike Rizzo to be the vice president of baseball operations, second in charge under then-general manager Jim Bowden.
Thanks to back-to-back No. 1 picks of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, and other strong moves to their farm system, the Nationals became a contending team by 2012, winning division titles in both 2012 and 2014.
People of note
|Manager||Time period||Regular season||Post-season||Totals|
|Wins||Losses||Win %||Best finish||Wins||Losses||Win %||Post-season||Wins||Losses||Win %|
|Frank Robinson||2005–2006||152||172||46.9%||0||0||—||Never made post-season||152||172||46.9%|
|Manny Acta||2007–2009||158||252||38.5%||0||0||—||Never made post-season||158||252||38.5%|
|Jim Riggleman||2009–2011||140||172||44.9%||0||0||—||Never made post-season||140||172||44.9%|
|John McLaren||2011||2||1||66.7%||0||0||—||Never made post-season||2||1||66.7%|
- Charlie Slowes – radio (2005–present)
- Dave Shea – radio (2005)
- Dave Jageler – radio (2006–present)
- Mel Proctor – TV (2005)
- Ron Darling – TV (2005)
- Bob Carpenter – TV (2006–present)
- Tom Paciorek – TV (2006)
- Don Sutton – TV (2007–2008)
- Rob Dibble – TV (2009–2010)
- F.P. Santangelo – TV (2011–present)
Baseball Hall of Famers
|Washington Nationals Hall of Famers|
|Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum|
Ford C. Frick Award (broadcasters only)
|Washington Nationals Ford C. Frick Award recipients|
|Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum|
During the franchise's period in Montreal, the Montreal Expos retired three numbers in honor of four players, plus Jackie Robinson's number 42 which was retired throughout all Major League Baseball in 1997. Following the move to Washington, D.C., the numbers (except 42) were returned to circulation and remained in use at least through the conclusion of the 2013 season, although the "Team History" section of the Nationals' website continues to refer to the numbers as "retired." After the Expos' departure from Montreal, the Canadiens hung a banner in Bell Centre honoring the Expos' retired numbers.
Ring of Honor
During 2010, the Nationals established a "Ring of Honor" at Nationals Park to honor Hall of Fame members from the Washington Nationals, Washington Senators, Homestead Grays, and Montreal Expos. The ring includes:
- Cool Papa Bell
- Ray Brown (Negro leagues pitcher)
- Josh Gibson
- Buck Leonard
- Cumberland Posey
- Jud Wilson
- Joe Cronin
- Rick Ferrell
- Goose Goslin
- Clark Griffith
- Bucky Harris
- Walter Johnson
- Harmon Killebrew
- Heinie Manush
- Early Wynn
- Sam Rice
Standings updated on October 1, 2014
|2006||2006||NL||East||5th||71||91||.438||26||Alfonso Soriano (Silver Slugger)|
|2007||2007||NL||East||4th||73||89||.451||18||Dmitri Young (Comeback Player of Year)|
|2009||2009||NL||East||5th||59||103||.364||34||Ryan Zimmerman (Gold Glove and Silver Slugger)|
|2010||2010||NL||East||5th||69||93||.426||28||Ryan Zimmerman (Silver Slugger)|
|2012||2012||NL||East||1st||98||64||.604||Won NL East Division by 4 games; lost NLDS 2–3||Adam LaRoche—(Silver Slugger and Gold Glove)
Ian Desmond—(Silver Slugger)
Stephen Strasburg—(Silver Slugger)
Bryce Harper—NL Rookie of the Year
Davey Johnson—NL Manager of the Year
|2013||2013||NL||East||2d||86||76||.531||10||Ian Desmond (Silver Slugger)|
|2014||2014||NL||East||1st||96||66||.593||Won NL East Division by 17 games; lost NLDS 1–3||Matt Williams (National League Manager of the Year)|
Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.
Minor league affiliations
Nationals Dream Foundation
The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation is the team's charity which is "committed to community partnerships that improve the lives of children and families across the Washington Capital Region. The foundation plans to open a youth baseball academy in partnership with the D.C. government, a pediatric diabetes care center at Children's National Medical Center in partnership with the Center. The foundation also provides grants to local organizations.
On August 1, 2011, the foundation, in partnership with several local organizations, formally opened Miracle Field in Germantown, Maryland as part of an effort to encourage athletic activity in children with "mental and/or physical challenges." According to Steven Miller of MLB.com, what sets Miracle Field apart in terms of safety is its unique design, as it "is made entirely of a cushioned synthetic turf that is five-eighths of an inch thick-- providing a safe surface for children in wheelchairs or with other handicaps." 
Radio and television
The Nationals' flagship radio station is WJFK-FM (106.7 FM) "The Fan", which is owned by CBS Radio. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler are the play-by-play announcers. Most games are simulcast on WFED 1500 AM, which had been the flagship station since the 2006 season until a multi-year agreement was reached between the Nationals and WJFK before the 2011 season. The other former flagship is WWZZ 104.1 FM, which carried games in the 2005 season.
Nationals' telecasts are predominantly on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), with a few games picked up for free TV by Fox. 20 of MASN's games per season (the season opener plus 19 weekend games) are also simulcast on free TV in the Washington area, on WUSA. Bob Carpenter is the TV play-by-play announcer and F.P. Santangelo was hired in January 2011 as color analyst. Former color analysts are Tom Paciorek, Don Sutton, and Rob Dibble, who was fired in September 2010 after criticizing Stephen Strasburg for not pitching while injured. Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday host the postgame show "Nats Xtra". Knight filled in as color analyst in September 2010 after Dibble was fired.
Nationals vs. Orioles
- "Nationals victorious in stadium debut". MLB.com. March 29, 2008.
- "Gwynn lost chance at .400; Expos denied playoff berth". CNN. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- "Labor Pains – A guide to Major League Baseball's contraction issue". infoplease.com. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
- "World Series Club History". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- Montreal Expos (1996). Expos Media Guide 1996.
- Blair, Jeff (1991-06-15). "Brochu group goes to bat for baseball survival here; Expos sale official as Bronfman era ends". Montreal Gazette. pp. C.1.
- Montreal Expos (2000). Expos Media Guide 2000.
- Blair, Jeff (1999-12-10). "Expos to field better team, Loria says Ebullient new chairman vows to increase salary limit, build new ballpark for 2002 season". The Globe and Mail (The Globe and Mail). pp. S.1.
- Schoenfield, David (2002-02-05). "Still 30 teams: Contraction timeline". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Mnookin, Seth (2006). Feeding the Monster. How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-8681-2.
- "Deal in place, games go on" (Press release). MLB.com. 2002-08-30. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Myles, Stephanie (2004-09-30). "31,395 say goodbye". Montreal Gazette. pp. C1.
- Bloom, Barry M. (2004-09-29). "MLB selects D.C. for Expos". MLB.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- "Media Center". DCVote.org. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
- "The District's Senators Shouldn't Wear Cleats". The Washington Post. October 3, 2004.
- "In Washington, it'll be "Let's go Nats"". USA Today. November 22, 2004.
- Barry Svrluga (June 5, 2007). "Nationals Counting on Draft-Day Payoff". Washington Post. p. E01.
- "2011 Washington Nationals Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "Franchise Retired Numbers". Washington Nationals. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- See also: Washington Hall of Stars.
- "Washington Nationals Pay Tribute to Hall of Famers with Ring of Honor". Washington Nationals. 2010-08-10.
- "Washington Nationals History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Bill Ladson (2007-10-26). "Young honored by Players Association". MLB.com. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
- "Nationals Dream Foundation". Washington Nationals. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Washington Nationals Join Civic, Community Organizations to Build Miracle Field". MLB.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- Miller, Steven (August 1, 2011). "Nationals unveil Miracle League Field". Nationals.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- "Nats, Post Radio Nearing Deal To Air Games". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Nationals get new radio partner". Washington Business Journal. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Nationals pick radio partner". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Fantis, Manny. "Washington Nationals Games on WUSA9 and MASN". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Santangelo set to join Nats' TV team". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Rob Dibble Fired by Nationals in Wake of Stephen Strasburg Comments". AOL.com. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Steinberg, Dan (July 7, 2008). "Nats: Last in the League, Last in TV Ratings". Washington Post.
- OURAND, JOHN (July 7, 2008). "MLB ratings down, but networks look ahead". Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Nationals' TV Ratings Improve". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Paulsen. "The Ratings Game: Ratings Up For Nationals, Orioles". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Washington Nationals.|
- Washington Nationals official website
- Washington Nationals Roster
- FOX Sports – Washington Nationals Team Front
- Sandalow, Marc. "A Brand-New Ballgame: The New Stadium of the Nationals", Washingtonian, March 1, 2008.