Washington Nationals


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Stadium: Nationals Park
Manager: Dave Martinez

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Washington Nationals

Team Summary

The Washington Nationals are a Major League Baseball team based in Washington D.C. The Nationals compete in the National League Eastern Division and play their home games at Nationals Park in D.C. They are also the first team to call Washington, D.C. home since the Washington Senators did before they left in 1971. From 1969-2004, the team was based in Montreal, Quebec, and was known as the Expos. 

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Washington Nationals History 

Major League Baseball had an expansion in 1969. The Montreal Expos were included in that expansion and they became Major League Baseball’s first Canadian-based team. The Expos were named after the Expo 67 World’s Fair. They played their home games at Jarry Park Stadium from 1969-1976. They moved to Olympic Stadium in 1977 and remained there until the team moved to Washington in 2004. 

The Expos labored out of the gate and failed to post a winning season through their first ten years of existence. Finally, in 1979 Montreal won over 90 games and finished in second place in the National League East. They had paid their dues and developed a solid core of players that included the likes of Andre Dawson and Gary Carter. The Expos won their first and only division title in 1981 before losing to the Dodgers in the postseason. People around baseball were hopeful that the strong 1981 year could lead to a dynasty during the 1980s. However, Montreal failed to win another division title until they moved to Washington. 

It was announced on the final date of the 2004 season that the Expos would be moving to Washington. The Washington team became the Nationals and thus a new team was born. But the Nationals did keep all of the Expos same players, contracts, etc. 

The Nationals have been far more successful than the Expos ever were during their 17-year tenure in Washington. They have already captured four NL East division titles, one NL Pennant, and one World Series championship which came in 2019. 

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The 2019 championship team was officially blown up last season when the Nationals traded Trea Turner and Max Scherzer to the Dodgers. While the Nats still have one of the best young players in the game in Juan Soto, they are clearly in rebuilding mode. They finished last season with a 65-97 record which led to a last-place finish in the NL East. 

The Nats do have some young and interesting pieces which could lead to a successful rebuild around Soto. They acquired a top-catching prospect named Keibert Ruiz from the Dodgers in the Scherzer-Turner deal. Ruiz profiles as the catcher of the future in Washington. Josiah Gray was a pitcher who was acquired in the Dodgers trade and the Nationals believe he will be a vital part of the rotation for the foreseeable future. Additionally, young players with high ceilings who could help speed up the rebuilding process include names such as; Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, Riley Adams, and Lane Thomas. 

The Nationals could have a decent pitching rotation with Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin still in the mix. Both could be trade candidates in the near future if Washington struggles again in 2022. 

Championships Won by the Nationals

The only World Series title between the Expos/Nationals franchise came in 2019. The Nationals snuck into the playoffs as a Wild Card team and had to play the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card game. With Washington trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th and the bases loaded, Juan Soto stepped up to the plate and smacked a base hit to right field. However, the ball scooted by right fielder Trent Grisham which allowed all three runners to come around and score, giving the Nationals a 4-3 lead. They would not look back and went on to win the game. 

The Nationals then went on to upset the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series, and then they swept the Cardinals in the NLCS to clinch their first pennant in franchise history. 

But then they had to deal with the Houston Astros who had just won the World Series in 2017. 

However, Washington played them competitively and forced a game 7. Houston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 7. Zack Greinke was in the midst of a dominant shutout through the first six innings of play. But then Washington’s Anthony Rendon took him deep to open the seventh inning which cut the lead in half. Following a baserunner and a Houston pitching change, veteran infielder Howie Kendrick stepped into the box. On an 0-1 count, Kendrick slapped a pitch the other way with authority and the ball just did carry over the wall and clanked off the foul pole for a two-run home run to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Washington would go on to score three more runs and ultimately won the game 6-2. 

Important Team Events

The 1981 postseason helped reestablish the fanbase for the Montreal Expos, who had grown used to watching the team miss the postseason. Although the Expos would struggle to make the playoffs in future seasons, 1981 was a special season for the team. 

It goes without saying, but the move to Washington following the 2004 campaign was a very important team event. And it turns out to have paid off as the Nationals have seen plenty of success since the move. 

The aforementioned 2019 World Series was the first in franchise history. It was one of the most exciting World Series as well and will be a year that National’s fans never forget. 

The Best Nationals Players

Gary Carter was an Expo from 1974-1984 and then again in 1992. Carter was one of the better catchers in baseball history and became the face of the Montreal franchise. Carter finished his career as an 11-time all-star and 5-time Silver Slugger award winner while hitting 324 career home runs. 

Tim Raines spent time in Montreal from 1979-1990, and then again in 2001. Raines finished his career with a .294 batting average and over 800 stolen bases to his credit. Additionally, he was a 7-time all-star. 

Ryan Zimmerman has been the face of the Washington Nationals franchise for many years now. He was their first-ever draft pick in 2005 and has spent every year of his career in D.C. Zimmerman is a two-time Silver Slugger and one-time World Series champion. 

Top Coaches 

Dick Williams was the first head coach in Expos history to leave Montreal with a winning record. Williams coached the team from 1977-1981 and left the Expos with a .523 winning percentage. 

His successor was Jim Fanning, who coached the team from 1981-1982, and then again in 1984. Fanning completed his time in Montreal with the highest winning percentage of any other coach and was the only manager to lead the team to the postseason. 

Davey Johnson coached the Nationals from 2011-2013 and left with a .550 winning percentage. He also led them to the playoffs in 2012. 

Dave Martinez has coached the Nationals from 2018 through the 2021 campaign. While he has an overall losing record, Martinez led Washington to their only World Series victory in franchise history in 2019.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What year were the Montreal Expos established?


What year did the Expos move to Washington and become the Nationals?

At the conclusion of the 2004 season

Who is the Nationals/Expos all-time leader in home runs?


Who is the Nationals/Expos all-time leader in home runs?

Ryan Zimmerman (284)

Who is the Nationals/Expos all-time leader in stolen bases?

Tim Raines (635)

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