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Washington Baseball is Good Enough

The Washington Nationals won the first World Series in their franchise history and the first for a DC baseball team since 1925. That's a drought that includes two different Washington Senators teams (now the Twins and Rangers), the Montreal Expos and the current team, the Nationals. This post includes a lot of the players of those teams from the Extinct Teams post, two posts on the great fielding outfields and a piece from a post on active players.

A Washington Senators team in the 1920's. Unknown year, Public Domain.

Some of these guys are favorites of those that I have researched in this Hall of Good Enough project. They come from multiple posts, mainly from the Extinct Teams post, but also from the Greatest Fielding Outfields, The history of the Reds, the post on Good Enough active players and I'll add a couple of past and present Nationals after the move to DC.

Washington Senators

The Senators came in two incarnations. The first played in DC from 1901 to 1960 and starred Hall of Famer Walter Johnson who was the ace of their one World Series in 1924. That franchise moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. The year after the first franchise's move, another expansion Washington Senators started. They were know for being managed by Ted Williams and the world learning that even though Ted was the greatest hitter to ever live, he was not an especially good manager. This second team moved to Texas to become the Rangers after the 1971 season. Washington, DC did not have major league baseball from 1972 to 2004, until the Expos moved to DC to become the Nationals. The new team has made the statement that they would not use the name "Senators" until the District was given their own Senator to represent them with voting rights. The Senators teams were known by the saying "Washington is first in war, first in peace, last in the American League," for their consistency at the bottom of the standings for most of their 70 years. The hapless Senators were so recognizable for their mediocrity that they were the team that was portrayed in the Broadway show and movie Damn Yankees as the underdog team.

The 1924 Championship Team

The only team from DC/Montreal to win the World Series in the 20th Century, this was the crown jewel of Walter Johnson's legendary career. Johnson might have been the best pitcher of the first half of the century and this team was all about pitching. In a year that Babe Ruth led the majors in homers with 46 homers, the next closest player hit 25 and the Senators team leader, Hall of Famer Goose Goslin, hit 12. Fellow Hall of Famer Sam Jones only managed a single home run that regular season, but he is remembered for that World Series for a controversial catch that carried him into the stands.

Joe Judge, 1B

Joe Judge presented with a laurel and hearty handshake by the Elks, 1929. Public Domain.

Listed at 5'8 1/2" Judge so short for a first baseman that he needed the 1/2 inch at the end of height listing so that you could know he's a big boy. Despite this small stature at a position that requires a large target, he was known as the best fielder at his position for the entirety of his 20 year career then for another three decades after his retirement. He was the consistent leader for every defensive category at first base and had a lifetime .993 fielding percentage (although the recording of errors during his career that spanned 1915 to 1934 is a little suspect for some positions, especially at short stop due to rocks in the dirt and four inch long infield grass). Judge, a singles hitter amassed 2352 carrer hits, a .298 AVG, .378 OBP, four seasons with MVP votes and two World Series appearances, including the 1924 championship. Connie Mack considered him one of the most underrated players off his time and one of the best firstbasemen he had seen because of his all-around ability and propensity to drive in runs.

Firpo Marberry, RHP

Firpo Marberry, 1924. Public Domain.

No, Frederick isn't known to be shortened to "Firpo." This is nonsense and I blame Early 20th Century Man. He gained the nickname due to a resemblance to a boxer, Luis Firpo, who had knocked Jack Dempsey out of the ring and onto a typewriter in a 1923 fight at the Polo Grounds only to lose to Dempsy in the second round. Regardless, Mr. Marberry, as odd as his name was, was also a unique pitcher who should be considered a pioneer of baseball. He had just one pitch and it was an unhittable fastball that became very hittable after three or four innings. It was the 1920's and the save had several decades to be invented as a stat, but those original Senators started using Firpo as a spot starter an reliever. In hindsight he was able to set records for saves in a season three times, lead the league six times and led the league in games pitched six times. This includes 1929 when he saved 9 games to lead the league and had 16 complete games. Oh yeah, he won 19 games that year and had a 3.06 ERA. Firpo finished his career in 1936 with 99 saves, 148 wins, a 3.63 ERA, and a World Series championship in a series where he saved two games. The numbers aren't gaudy to today's standards, but his role of being used in any situation to get a win is now en vogue concerning relievers today.

Sad Sam Jones, RHP

"Sad Sam" wasn't able to get his other nickname "Horsewhips" (for the sharp crack of his breaking ball) to stick through the decades. He was just a sad looking dude. He won the World series once each with the Red Sox (1918) and Yankees (1923) and lost two other trips ('22 and '26) although he never personally won a game in the series. He wasn't on the Senator's team that won the World Series as that season he was playing for the Yankees, Washington's main rival that year. His 229 career wins are better than 20 of the 70 starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame. So sad. Jones had a season with the Browns in '27 and a longer stay with the first Senators franchise from '28 to 31 where he had one notable 17 win season with a 2.84 ERA. Not much of a strike out pitcher, never striking out more than 100 in a season, he also didn't give up the long ball with a career average of 0.3 home runs per nine innings.

First In War

There were a few Senators players that took time off from their playing careers to serve in the military. From the late '30's until they left for Minnesota after the 1960 season the Senators had only four winning seasons.

Cecil Travis, SS

This three time All-Star unfortunately embodied the "first in war, first in peace, last in the American League" reputation of the Senators. As a member of the original franchise he hit over .300 every season but one from 1933 to '41. His one down year, 1939, he suffered from a case of influenza that was so bad that he was described as a "walking skeleton" yet he still hit .292 over 130 games. His greatest season came at the age of 27 when he led the league in hits with 218, was second to Ted Williams in hitting at .359, and had career highs in doubles (39), triples (19) and RBI (101). Unfortunately, that was 1941 and the next three seasons he did not play in the majors as he went off to fight in World War II and missed the next three years of his career and most of a fourth. He might have missed out on playing time but he earned a Bronze Star for his country. When he returned from the war he was never quite able to find his timing and retired midseason when he was only 33 years old. He retired after playing in 12 seasons (although only nine full seasons) collecting 1544 hits, .314 AVG, .370 OBP, three All-Star games and four seasons with MVP votes.

An early view of the right field seats at Griffith Park in Washington. Public Domain.

Eddie Yost, 3B

"The Walking Man" isn't just the worst possible name for an action movie, it was the nickname for Eddie Yost of the original Senators. Playing mostly for the original Senators in the '40's and '50's, Yost lead the league in walks six times and had on base percentages over .400 nine times and a career OBP of .394 despite a deceptively low career AVG of .254. His 1614 career walks in 18 seasons ranks eleventh all-time, just behind Frank Thomas (Big Hurt) who walked 1667 times in 19 seasons. Although he played in a cavernous stadium and only had 139 career home runs, Yost only trails Rickey Henderson, Bobby Bonds and Paul Molitor with 28 leadoff home runs as of 1999 (unfortunately the only reliable resource I can find for this stat is 19 years old). A slick fielder in his time, he held all of the defensive records for third basemen until Brooks Robinson shattered them all. His 1863 career hits aren't eye-popping, but combined with his 1614 walks he is a sabermetrics darling born six decades too early.

Packing Up The Moving Truck

The fortunes of the Twin's incarnation of the Senators before they moved to Minnesota were pretty bad and the pre-Rangers Senators were even worse, losing 100 games or more in their first four seasons. The expansion Senators played in Washington from 1961 to 1971 before moving to Texas.

Camilo "Little Potato" Pascual, RHP

"Potato Pequeno" Started his career with the first incarnation of the Senators and played with the latter toward the end after leaving the Twins. Playing in the mid-1950's through the '60's, his curve ball's sharp break was compared to contemporary Sandy Koufax. Despite the Senators being a pretty hapless team in the '50's, in 1959 he went 17-10, 2.64 ERA, 17 COMPLETE GAMES and 6 SHUTOUTS, both to lead the league. This was the start of five out of six seasons as an All-Star, leading the league in shutouts and complete games three times each, and winning 20 games twice. He lead the league in strikes outs each seasons for three years from 1961 to '63. He won 174 games over 18 seasons, career 3.63 ERA, his 2167 strike outs rank 64th all-time, just behind Pete Alexander (2198) and Vida Blue (2167) and his 36 career shutouts rank 63th, just ahead of Greg Maddux, Lefty Grove and Eddie Cicotte and just behind Vida Blue and Randy Johnson. He surpassed the Cuban pitchers that preceded him and would lead Cuba in the Caribean Series every off season until the Cuban Revolution when he could not participate so freely for his home country.

Frank Howard, OF

Frank Howard, Baseball Digest Cover, 1962. Public Domain.

At 6'7", 260lbs, Howard is one of the biggest mashers in MLB history. He was a college basketball All American and once snagged 32 rebounds in a game for Ohio State. When Ted Williams was his manager he called Howard "the strongest man ever to play major league baseball." Coming up in the late '50's with the Dodgers, it took him until the late '60'son the second incarnation of the Senators to figure out how to consistently swing for power and average. He had been trying to hit with 20/40 vision in his good eye and struggling to catch up with blurry 90 mph fastballs. The first game he played with corrected lenses on his eyes in 1963 he connected for three homers. In 1968, over a six straight games he hit a total of ten home runs, at least one a game in his first season leading the league in home runs and slugging with 44 and .552. The next year he hit his personal best of 48 homer while also batting in 111 RBI, and slashing .296/.402/.574. The year after that, 1970, Howard lead the league in home runs (44), RBI (126), walks (132 and slashed .283/.416/.546 for his third consecutive season with MVP votes. The 1960 Rookie of the year with the Dodgers, Howard was a four-time All-Star, a World Series champ in 1963 and finished his career with 1774 H, 382 HR and a .273/.352/.499 slash over 16 seasons.

Montreal Expos

The Expos were the home team of the very first MLB game I ever attended in person so the idea of extinct teams brings a little nostalgia. The Expos never played in a World Series although their best chance was in the 1994 strike season that had no champion. The Expos were in Montreal from 1969 as an expansion team until they moved to Washington DC in 2004 to become the Washington Nationals. The Expos played in Montreal from 1969 to 2004.

Rusty Staub, RF

Rusty Staub circa 1973. Public Domain.

"Le Grand Orange" came to the Expos from the Astros just before the inaugural season for the franchise in a trade that nearly fell through if it wasn't for Commissioner stepping in to resolve the deal as one of the players going to Houston threatened to retire rather than play for the Astros. Staub moved to Montreal, learned French so that he could feel part of the community and talk with the fans, and slugged his way into their hearts in the open air stadium.

He was only on the Expos for three seasons, but he was an All-Star all three years (six times in his career), and had his two highest home run totals (29 and 30 in '69 and '70) and some impressive OBP numbers (.426, .392, .394 from '69-'71) while playing in some pretty frigid conditions. He played for five teams over his career and was the first player to amass 500 hits or more for four teams (Astros, Expos, Mets, Tigers). He compiled 2,716 hits, 292 homers, a .279 AVG and a .362 OBP (According to Fangraphs, a .300 AVG hitter should have an OBP of .360) over his 23 year career.

Mike Marshall, RHP

Have you seen this reliever? Mike Marshall, unknown year. Public Domain.

I first highlighted Marshall as the lone memorable member of the Extinct Team of the Seattle Pilots who later moved to Milwaukee after just one season that bankrupt the Seattle owners and Bud Selig swooped in to buy the team for a bargain.

A "somewhat surly, extraordinarily intelligent 'flake,'" Marshall went from being injured in a car that was hit by a train when he was eleven years old, to a three sport star in high school, to one of the oddest careers in baseball history. He started his pro career as a shortstop and although he hit well, his fielding was so incredibly awful he was moved... to pitcher. He was the lone survivor of the Seattle Pilot's single year of existence but pitched so badly as a reliever he was traded to the Expos. He was one of the few pitchers on the Expos roster with any experience as he did have a successful rookie season with the Tigers in '67 where he had a 1.98 ERA in 37 games so the Expos obviously moved him into their rotation. He had tried starting with the Pilots and that got him traded, so starting in Montreal wasn't much better and he lasted only five starts before being moved back to the pen.

In Montreal, Marshall developed a screwball and in '72 and '73 he lead the league in games pitched with 65 and 92, while also keeping low ERA's of 1.78 and 2.66 respectively. Before the '74 season he was traded to the Dodgers where he was able to really put into practice some of the personal theories he had about the mechanics of the human body he had been obsessing over ever since being hit by a train as a child and studied as he continued his college education majoring in kinesiology while playing in the majors. He believed it was best to pitch four or five games a week and in 1974 he set the record for games pitched in a season with 106. He led the league with 21 saves, had a 2.42 ERA and was the first reliever to win the Cy Young Award.

Over his career, he pitched in 724 games, 188 saves, leading the league in saves three times, games pitched four times, was a two time All-Star and had a 1.00 ERA over five World Series games in '74 striking out 10 and walking none in 9 innings despite the Dodgers lossing the series to the A's.

Larry Parrish, 3B

Breaking into the majors with Gary Carter and just preceded Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Ellis Valentine, Parrish was the beneficiary of a team that brought in players with high school injuries or personal issues to overcome the superior scouting of the rest of the league. He was the purest power hitter on the team (and the league), hitting in the middle of the lineup, he didn't fully realize that power with results until his sixth year, although he was still only 25 years old in 1979. He was an All-Star hitting 30 home runs, a .307 AVG and finish behind only Keith Hernandez, Willie Stargell and Dave Winfield in MVP voting.

Olympic Stadium at night. Public Domain.

His 256 HR, 992 RBI, 1789 H, .263/.318/.439 over 15 years are good but not eye popping, although they compare favorably with Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and current star Evan Longoria. Robinson is much more known for his defense and longevity, playing 23 years, 268 HR, 1357 RBI, 2848 H, and .267/.322/.401. Longoria has only played 11 years 262 HR, 894 RBI, 1472 H, .269/.340/.482 and a couple of Gold Gloves to his name. Parrish was not nearly the defensive star of Robinson and Longo, but he was an offensive cornerstone for both the Expos and later the Rangers where he would also be a leader in home runs and RBI for the second half of his career especially at third base that has a history of being sparse of great players compared to other positions.

1978 Montreal Expos: LF Warren Cromartie, CF Andre Dawson, RF Ellis Valentine

If you were playing in the National League in 1978, you sure as hell shouldn’t have tried to take the extra base if you were playing the Expos. This Montreal team should have been the future of baseball. Hall of Famer Gary Carter was only 24 years old as was Warren Cromartie and future All-Star Larry Parrish, and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson and Gold Glover Ellis Valentine were both 23 years of age. Ellis Valentine had a spectacular year, tied for the league lead in outfield assists with teammate Warren Cromartie at 24, 25 home runs, 13 steals, a .289 AVG and 18 Rtot in right field. Valentine only had one more full seasons as a big leaguer, even at his young age. He was a physical phenom, 6’4” with tape measure power with the bat. His arm was so good that Pete Rose raved that it was one of the best he had ever seen. Teammate Andre Dawson, who is often thought to have one of the best arms in the outfield in MLB history claimed Ellis was far better than himself. He could overthrow the cutoff man throwing home from the warning track, but his career was already on the downturn by his mid-20’s.

Tim McCarver once noted, “One wonders about Ellis. There are those with far less talent doing much better. Is it motivation? Desire? I can’t answer that.” Jonah Keri wrote in Up, Up and Away, “...Valentine showed remarkable on-field resilience even as he turned his insides into an elaborate chemistry experiment,” to describe the mixture of injury (playing on astroturf and taking an pitch to the face) and his endless appetite for cocaine and greenies to get him up and alcohol to bring him down. When he retired from baseball he went into drug rehab and later started a second career as a certified drug counselor

Warren Cromartie with the Yamiuri Giants. Picture from Iamjapanbaseball.

Left fielder Warren Cromartie had an equally spectacular 1978 season, racking up 24 outfield assists and an Rtot of 23. He was never the power hitter of Valentine or Dawson, but he had the best AVG (.297) on the ‘78 Expos and racked up the most hits (180) in a lineup that sported three future Hall of Famers (Gary Carter, Tony Perez and Dawson). Cromartie never hit more than 14 home runs in a season with the Expos, but in 1984 he left the US to play in Japan with the Yamiuri Giants where he had three straight 30+ home run seasons.

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson was the only outfielder of the trio not to lead the league in assists in 1978, but he logged 17 of his own from center field and an Rtot of 12. He was the NL Rookie of the Year the year before and two years later he started a run of eight Gold Gloves in nine years. With the ridiculous number of assists from the Montreal in ‘78, it’s little wonder that runners decided to not even both risking to take the extra base the next season and all of their assist numbers plummeted.

Andres Galarraga, 1B

Seeing "The Big Cat" on the field was like seeing The Hound on Game of Thrones playing baseball. Just one home run shy of 400 over his 19 year career, he transformed from a good hitter with a .269 AVG with Montreal in the first six seasons of his career between '85 to '91 to leading the league in AVG with the Rockies in '93 hitting .370. While he did lead the league in hits (184) and doubles (42) with the Expos in 1988, he never hit more than 30 homers in Montreal. Colorado players are often discounted for the park effect on the distance the ball is hit, and 31,31,47 (leading the league) and 41 homers from '94 to '97 with the Rockies, also leading the league in RBI in '96 and '97 with 150 and 140 respectively. There is an argument that perhaps this power output was not the absolute provider of Galarraga's success because his first year away from Denver he hit 44 home runs, 121 RBI and a .305 AVG with Atlanta in '98 at the age of 37. He was late to get into the majors and still didn't produce his best seasons until he was closer to 30, but he finished his career with 2333 H, 1425 RBI (70th all-time), 399 HR and a .288 AVG over 19 years.

Dennis Martinez, RHP

Dennis Martinez, 1980. Public Domain.

The winningest Latin player of all time (245 wins), El Presidente's career was more of a lifetime. He lead the league in complete games in 1979 and 1991, pitched in the '79 and '95 World Series. He was a four-time All-Star but didn't make his first team until he was 35 years old. He quit drinking at 28 and and retired as a grandfather at 44. In his 1991 season with the Expos he lead the league in ERA (2.39), CG (9), SHO (5) and finished 5th in Cy Young voting for the first time since 1981 when he lead the league in Wins (14) in a strike shortened year. He won 108 games for the Orioles and another 100 for Montreal where had a 3.06 for the Expos over eight years. When he was 40 years old he won a poll of popularity in his native Nicaragua where he was urged to run for president. He decided to pitch for five more seasons.

The 1994 Expos

In 1994 the Expos were far and away the best team in the majors, they had the best record and they never got the chance to prove it in the playoffs. They were a team that was destined for the World Series right up until the strike hit and the Series was cancelled. They were led by a break out year from journeyman pitcher Ken Hill, and big years from Wil Cordero and Marquis Grissom. Out of those three, only Grissom produced at the same level beyond that magical season. Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez had a coming out party in his first year with the Expos and his first season as a starting pitcher.

Walker shouldn't be on this list anymore, but the bias against his time playing at altitude will make his induction harder than it should be. He was more than just a four-time All-Star for the Rockies, the Canadian Walker started his career in Montreal where he was an All-Star, earned MVP votes twice, won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger and led the league in doubles in '94. It was his time in Colorado that made him a marquee player in the league, leading the league in hitting three times and home runs once. He retired with seven Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, he was a the '97 NL MVP, 383 home runs, 2160 hits, a .313 AVG, .400 OBP and .565 SLG and a WAR of 72.7 over 17 years. He was a five-time All-Star and provided a classic Mid Summer Classic moment when Randy Johnson threw a pitch over his head with the first pitch so Walker turned his helmet around and batted righty.

The son of Felipe Alou, his parents divorced when Moises was just two years old and he lived estranged from his father until Felipe was his manager in Montreal. It was not the sunniest of reunions as Moises was benched by his father in 1992 when pitchers figured out he was swinging at the first pitch fastballs. He was able to adjust and led the Expos to their best season in franchise history in the strike shortened '94 season where he finished third in MVP voting and his father won the Manager of the Year Award. Moises went on the win a World Series with the Marlins in '97 and take the Astros ('98 and '01) and Cubs ('03, pay no attention to the unfortunate way he pointed at Steve Bartman) to the postseason. A six-time All-Star, he hit .303, 2134 hits and 332 home runs over 17 years.

Cliff Floyd, LF

Cliff Floyd. Upper Deck Collector's Choice, 1999.

The only player on both Florida franchises first World Series teams Cliff Floyd was also a member of the '94 Expos team that was the best in baseball. Once a well rounded slugger, later relegated to a role as a power hitter after the AstroTurf in Montreal ruined his knees (like many others before him), his .278 AVG betrayed his robust .358 OBP. He had only four full seasons in 17 years, but three of those seasons he hit 28 home runs or more. Twice to the World Series, and a champion with the Marlins, when he aged out of being a young phenom, he matured into a veteran presence for multiple teams. He finished his career with 233 homers and 148 stolen bases.

Mark Grudzielanek, SS

Tasked to take over the shortstop position in Montreal full time in ‘96 as a solid piece for the over-achieving Expos who came back to win 88 games and finish second in the NL East. Grudzielanek was the replacement for Wil Cordero after Montreal sold their greatest team for parts and started a slow decline as a team that developed great players for other teams. He was an All-Star that season with 201 hits, 33 steals and a .306 AVG. That first MLB game that I went to, fielded a team that still had optimism for greatness because of the talent that remained. Every player seemed like a rising star: Henry Rodriguez, Grudz, Rondel White and Mike Lansing, all supporting the star of the lineup Moises Alou. The next season, Grudzielanek led the league in at bats and doubles with 649 and 54 and he stole 25 more bases. He was only a stolen base threat in his first two seasons, but the rest of his career he was a consistent hitter, notching a .289 AVG, 2040 hits and 391 doubles over his career and a dependable middle infielder.

His best year with the bat was ‘99 with the Dodgers when he hit .326 and had an OBP of .376, his last year as a regular shortstop. The next year he moved over to second to make room for 24 year old Alex Cora at short. He earned MVP votes in ‘03 with the Cubs thanks to his .314 AVG and slick glove at second and in ‘06 he earned a Gold Glove at the keystone with the Royals at the age of 36.

Washington Nationals

Livan Hernandez RHP

As a young defector from Cuba, Livan made his debut in a single game in 1996 at the age of 21, and the next year he was a no-name young player on an All-Star Marlins team that won it all. He won the NLCS and World Series MVPs. In '97 he had a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts before an offseason where he discovered that our capitalist society offers McDonald's to eat and he was never again a skinny hurler on the bump. His ERA ballooned with his waistline and he was traded to the Giants before finding his way to the Expos. In Montreal he established himself as a workhorse ace of the team, leading them through a year splitting home games in Puerto Rico and Montreal under the ownership of the MLB before moving to DC. He led the league three straight years in innings pitched from '03 to '05 and was an All-Star in Montreal's last season in '04 and Washington's first year in '05, each season sporting an ERA under 4.00. In his seventeen year career he spend seven of his best years with the Expos/Nationals in two stints. He won 178 games with an ERA of 4.44, and a WAR of 30.1. He had two trips to the World Series, winning it all in his rookie year, and took home a Silver Slugger Award.

George W. Bush throws out the first pitch at a season opener at National Park. Public Domain.

Adam Dunn, OF

Adam Dunn, whose star faded after turning 31 and failing to hit over .220 for the last four years of his career, started his career with the Reds (‘01 to ‘08) and for a time established himself as a freakishly consistent hitter, logging home run totals of 46, 40, 40, 40, 40 (yup, 40 dingers on the dot over four straight years), 38, 38, 11 and 41 for the 2004 to '12 seasons. Even though he had a career .237 AVG, he was constant at getting onbase at a .364 rate to go with his 462 homers. I will never forget the time that I was watching Dunn in batting practice for the Nationals at Chase Field in Phoenix, I was looking at my phone while standing next to a marker that read 440' and one of Dunn's bombs missed hitting me on the fly by four or five feet. I didn't even walk away with that ball, but I did get another of his. The guy put on a BP show and made sure everyone took home a souvenir.

Jason Werth, OF

Werth spent most of his 20's looking like a journeyman outfielder with maybe a little pop but nothing to write home about when it came to batting average. It was the 2008 Championship season for the Phillies where Werth broke out as a star outfielder and a key player on a great team. That year he hit 24 homers and drew a lot of walks for a very good .363 OBP. He was an All-Star in '09 and received MVP votes in four seasons. A power hitter, he racked up 229 homers and 300 doubles, leading the league in two-baggers in 2010. His career batting average was an underwhelming .267 but his eye was especially adept, leading to an OBP of .360, an on base record equivalent to a .300 AVG. He racked up 1464 hits and a WAR of 29.0.

Gio Gonzalez, LHP

Gio's profile as an elite starter was somewhat overshadowed in his time in Washington by pitching in the same rotation as two aces, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. He's a dependable pitcher with 31 or more starts in 8 or the last 10 seasons, an All-Star in 2011 with the A's and again in 2012 with the Nats, Gio has also gained Cy Young votes in '12 and '17. In his ten full seasons he has only twice posted an ERA over 4.00, and sports a career 3.68 ERA and 130 wins at the age of 33. He has a career WAR of 29.2 and is still active after 12 seasons.

Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

Ryan Zimmerman Topps sticker card, 2019.

By the time he was 21 he was one of the best player on the Nationals, and two seasons later when he hit a walk off homer for the very first game in Nationals Park he was the face of the franchise. He had three bad or injury filled seasons before last year when he had a career year at 32 years old (36 HR, 108 RBI, .303 AVG). Coming off of a limited season contributing to a Cinderella team that won the World Series, he has 1784 hits, 270 homers, a .279 AVG, .343 OBP, a WAR of 37.8, a gold glove and two silver sluggers over his career. In recent seasons he has moved to first base and has taken on a more platoon and leadership role with the Nationals.

Donald Trump being booed at Game Five of the 2019 World Series. Public Domain.

Howie Kendrick, UTL

He was an All-Star in 2011 and earned MVP votes in 2014, but at the age of 35 Howie Kendrick put together one of the best seasons of his career on the way to leading the Nationals to their first World Series. He only played in 121 games but he still managed to hit 17 home runs, one short of his career best, hit .344 and get on base at a .395 clip. He was the NLCS MVP this year with a .333 average in the series. He's a second baseman in his skill set, but he has played all over the field throughout his career, playing everywhere but shortstop. Not the flashiest player on the field, he has been the model of consistency. Over 14 seasons he has 1722 hits, 350 doubles, a .294 AVG and a 32.9 WAR.

Hall of Good Enough

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