|2017 Washington Nationals season|
|Established in 1969|
|Based in Washington, D.C. since 2005|
|Major league affiliations|
|Retired numbers||42 (as Montreal Expos: 8 10 10 30)|
|Major league titles|
|NL Pennants (0)||None|
|East Division titles (5)|
|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 compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. From 2005 to 2007, the team played in RFK Stadium; since 2008 their home stadium has been Nationals Park on South Capitol Street in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River.
The Nationals are the fourth major league franchise to be based in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1971. The original Washington Senators, who were often referred to as the Nationals, played in the National League from 1891 to 1899. They were followed by a second Washington Senators franchise in 1901, a charter member of the new American League, who were officially named the Washington Nationals from 1905 to 1956. The second Senators franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins. They were replaced that season by a third Senators franchise, who eventually moved to Arlington, Texas, after the 1971 season and became the Texas Rangers.
The current National League club was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, part of the MLB expansion, which included the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers),Kansas City Royals, and San Diego Padres. Based in Montreal, the Expos were the first Major League team in Canada. Home games were played 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 in Montreal, 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 franchise 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 franchise relocation in Major League Baseball since the third Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971.
While the team initially struggled after moving to Washington, the Nationals have experienced considerable success in recent years, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, although they have yet to advance out of the first round in the playoffs. Two of the team's first overall picks in the MLB Draft, Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010, attracted new levels of attention to the team. At the time of his selection, Strasburg was called the "most-hyped pick in draft history," and Harper later became the youngest position player to be selected to the MLB All-Star Game. Including their time in Montreal, the Nationals are one of two franchises, and the only one in the National League, never to have won a league pennant and played in a World Series, along with the Seattle Mariners of the American League.
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, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, operator of the Metrodome, won an injunction requiring the Twins to play there in 2002. Because MLB was unable to revoke the Twins franchise, it was compelled to keep both 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 until the end of the contract in 2006. By that time, the Expos had become the Washington Nationals and the Twins had made sufficient progress towards the eventual building of a new baseball-specific stadium that contraction was no longer on the agenda.
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; 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 D.C 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).
Numerous professional baseball teams have called Washington, D.C. home. The Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League (AL), played in the nation's capital from 1901 to 1960 before moving to Minnesota and becoming the Twins. The original Washington American League Base Ball Club was founded by three local businessmen: Edward J. Walsh, Benjamin Minor, and Harry Rapley. Clark Griffith was hired as manager in 1912 and became a part owner, accumulating majority shares in later years. The stadium, originally known as National Park and then American League Park, later became known as Griffith Stadium. With notable stars including Walter Johnson and Joe Cronin, the Senators won the 1924 World Series and pennants in 1925 and 1933. The franchise became more successful after moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season to be renamed the Minnesota Twins. A second Washington Senators team (1961-1971) had a winning record only once in its 11 years, although it featured slugger Frank Howard, who was inducted into the Ring of Fame at the new Nationals Park in 2016. This team was notable also because Ted Williams was manager in 1971. The expansion Senators moved to Arlington, Texas for the 1972 season and changed its name to the Texas Rangers. The city of Washington spent the next 33 years without a baseball team.
Although there was some sentiment to revive the name Senators when the Montreal Expos franchise moved to Washington in 2005, legal and political considerations factored into the choice of Nationals, a revival of the first American League franchise's official name used from 1901 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" logo 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".
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 Stephen Strasburg (in 2009) and Bryce Harper (in 2010), and other strong moves to their farm system, the Nationals became a contending team by 2012, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, but have lost in NLDS each time. In April 2015, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Nationals Park was selected by Major League Baseball to host the 2018 All Star Game.
|Wins||Losses||Win %||Best finish||Appearances||Wins||Losses||Win %||Series record||Wins||Losses||Win %|
|Frank Robinson||2005-2006||152||172||.469||81-81, 5th (2005)||--||--||--||--||--||152||172||.469|
|Manny Acta||2007-2009||158||252||.385||73-89, 4th (2007)||--||--||--||--||--||158||252||.385|
|Jim Riggleman||2009-2011||140||172||.449||69-93, 5th (2010) [note 1]||--||--||--||--||--||140||172||.449|
|John McLaren (interim)||2011||2||1||.667||-- [note 1]||--||--||--||--||--||2||1||.667|
|Davey Johnson||2011-2013||224||183||.550||98-64, 1st (2012)||2012||2||3||.400||0-1||226||186||.549|
|Matt Williams||2014-2015||179||145||.552||96-66, 1st (2014)||2014||1||3||.250||0-1||180||148||.549|
|Dusty Baker||2016-2017||192||132||.593||97-65, 1st (2017)||2016, 2017||4||6||.400||0-2||196||138||.587|
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 remain in use as of 2016 , although the "Team History" section of the Nationals' website continues to refer to the numbers as "retired." After the Expos' departure from Montreal, the National Hockey League?s Montreal Canadiens hung a banner in Bell Centre honoring the Expos' retired numbers.
On August 10, 2010, the Nationals unveiled a "Ring of Honor"[note 2] at Nationals Park to honor National Baseball Hall of Fame members who had played "significant years" for the Washington Nationals, original Washington Senators (1901-1960), expansion Washington Senators (1961-1971), Homestead Grays, or Montreal Expos. In late August 2016, the team dropped the criterion that an inductee be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, opening membership to "anyone who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball in Washington, D.C."; the first inductee under the revised criteria was Frank Howard.
The Nationals? attempt to honor the Montreal-Washington franchise?s entire history in the Ring of Honor, as well as by tracking Montreal-Washington franchise records, is not without controversy. Although Nationals fans generally take little interest in the franchise?s Montreal years, some do appreciate acknowledging that the franchise has a history that predates its arrival in Washington, and former Expo Tim Raines received a warm round of applause from fans at Nationals Park at his induction ceremony on August 28, 2017, even though he had never even visited Washington, D.C., before, let alone played baseball there. Some Montreal Expos fans express appreciation that the Nationals are honoring the Expos, and Expos players inducted into the Ring of Honor have expressed gratitude that the Nationals chose to include them, especially with no MLB team in Montreal to honor their careers. However, few Nationals fans have taken an interest in franchise records, preferring to compare Nationals records with those of previous Washington MLB teams instead, and a segment of Nationals fans actively opposes the inclusion of Expos history into that of the Nationals, taking the view that the Montreal years are irrelevant to Washington and that the team made a complete break with its past and started anew when it arrived in Washington, inheriting the history of the two Washington Senators teams rather than that of the Expos. Similarly, Montreal Expos fans have taken little or no interest in the achievements of Nationals players, and some Expos fans strongly oppose the inclusion of former Expos in the Ring, taking the position that to do so is to co-opt the history of the Expos, which they say belongs solely in Montreal.
Observers also have noted that the admission of Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez, although well-liked as a National, highlights another awkward aspect of the Ring of Honor's acceptance criteria, because Rodriguez's inclusion arose out of his admission to the National Baseball Hall of Fame based on his exploits for other teams, not out of anything he did during a 155-game, two-season stint with the Nationals in years in which they posted mediocre records. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo responded that his inclusion had merit even based on his time with the Nationals, when he "taught us how to be a professional franchise."
|Washington Nationals Ring of Honor|
|4||Cool Papa Bell||CF||1932, 1943-1946||August 10, 2010|
|--||Ray Brown||P||1932-1945, 1947-1948||August 10, 2010|
|20||Josh Gibson||C||1937-1946||August 10, 2010|
|32||Buck Leonard||1B||1934-1950||August 10, 2010|
|1911-1946||August 10, 2010|
|--||Jud Wilson||3B||1931-1932, 1940-1945||August 10, 2010|
|8||Gary Carter||C||1974-1984, 1992||August 10, 2010|
|10||Andre Dawson||CF||1976-1986||August 10, 2010|
|30||Tim Raines||LF||1979-1990, 2001||August 28, 2017|
|20||Frank Robinson||Manager||2002-2004||May 9, 2015|
|20||Frank Robinson||Manager||2005-2006||May 9, 2015|
|7||Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez||C||2010-2011||August 28, 2017|
|Washington Senators (original team, 1901-1960)|
|4||Joe Cronin||SS||1928-1934||August 10, 2010|
|8, 10, 37||Rick Ferrell||C||1937-1941
|August 10, 2010|
|3, 5, 20||Goose Goslin||LF||1921-1930
|August 10, 2010|
|August 10, 2010|
|28, 30, 35, 50||Bucky Harris||2B
|August 10, 2010|
|--||Walter Johnson||P||1907-1927||August 10, 2010|
|3, 12, 25||Harmon Killebrew||1B||1954-1960||August 10, 2010|
|2, 3||Heinie Manush||LF||1930-1935||August 10, 2010|
|2, 22||Sam Rice||RF||1915-1933||August 10, 2010|
|11, 20, 26, 44||Early Wynn||P||1939-1944, 1946-1948||August 10, 2010|
|Washington Senators (expansion team, 1961-1971)|
|--||Bucky Harris||Scout/Special Assistant||1963-1971||August 10, 2010|
|9, 33||Frank Howard||LF/1B||1965-1971||August 26, 2016|
|Season||Stadium||Season Total||Rank in
|2005||RFK Stadium||2,731,993||8th (of 16)||33,651|
|2006||RFK Stadium||2,153,056||11th (of 16)||26,582|
|2007||RFK Stadium||1,943,812||14th (of 16)||24,217|
|2008||Nationals Park||2,320,400||13th (of 16)||29,005|
|2009||Nationals Park||1,817,226||13th (of 16)||22,716|
|2010||Nationals Park||1,828,066||14th (of 16)||22,569|
|2011||Nationals Park||1,940,478||14th (of 16)||24,256|
|2012||Nationals Park||2,370,794||9th (of 16)||30,010|
|2013||Nationals Park||2,652,422||6th (of 15)||32,746|
|2014||Nationals Park||2,579,389||7th (of 15)||31,844|
|2015||Nationals Park||2,619,843||5th (of 15)||32,344|
|2016||Nationals Park||2,481,938||7th (of 15)||30,641|
|2017||Nationals Park||2,524,980||7th (of 15)||31,172|
One prominent fan is "Rubber Chicken Man" Hugh Kaufman, who waves a rubber chicken over the dugout to ward off "JuJu". Local sports writers have noted that his ritual "sacrifices" of rubber chickens often precede turnarounds in the Nationals' performance. Kaufman has built a following at the Stadium and in 2013 started a group called the "Secret Society of the Rubber Chicken" that now claims several Nationals players among its members.
Standings updated on October 13, 2017.
|2005||2005||NL||East||5th||81||81||.500||9||--||Chad Cordero--Rolaids Relief Man|
|2006||2006||NL||East||5th||71||91||.438||26||--||Alfonso Soriano--Silver Slugger|
|2007||2007||NL||East||4th||73||89||.451||18||--||Dmitri Young--Players Choice Award National League Comeback Player|
|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||.605||--||Won NL East Division by 4 games; Lost NLDS 2-3 vs. Cardinals||Adam LaRoche--Silver Slugger and Gold Glove
Ian Desmond--Silver Slugger
Stephen Strasburg--Silver Slugger
Bryce Harper--National League Rookie of the Year
Davey Johnson--National League Manager of the Year
|2013||2013||NL||East||2nd||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 vs. Giants||Ian Desmond--Silver Slugger
Anthony Rendon--Silver Slugger
Wilson Ramos--Tony Conigliaro Award
Matt Williams--National League Manager of the Year
|2015||2015||NL||East||2nd||83||79||.512||7||--||Bryce Harper--National League Most Valuable Player, Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award, Players Choice Award National League Outstanding Player, Esurance MLB Awards for Best Major Leaguer and Best Everyday Player|
|2016||2016||NL||East||1st||95||67||.586||--||Won NL East Division by 8 games; Lost NLDS 2-3 vs. Dodgers||Daniel Murphy--Silver Slugger and Players Choice Award National League Outstanding Player
Wilson Ramos--Silver Slugger
Max Scherzer-- National League Cy Young Award, Esurance MLB Awards for Best Pitcher and Best Performance
Anthony Rendon--National League Comeback Player of the Year
|2017||2017||NL||East||1st||97||65||.599||--||Won NL East Division by 20 games; Lost NLDS 2-3 vs. Cubs||Daniel Murphy--Silver Slugger
Max Scherzer--National League Cy Young Award, Players Choice Award National League Outstanding Pitcher
Ryan Zimmerman--Players Choice Award National League Comeback Player
Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.
The Nationals hold spring training in Florida, where they play their annual slate of Grapefruit League games. From 2005 through 2016, they held spring training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, a facility that they inherited from the Expos. In 2017, the Nationals moved their spring training operations to The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, a new facility they share with the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, Florida; they played their first Grapefruit League game there on February 28, 2017.
|AAA||Syracuse Chiefs||International League||Syracuse, New York|
|AA||Harrisburg Senators||Eastern League||Harrisburg, Pennsylvania|
|Advanced A||Potomac Nationals||Carolina League||Woodbridge, Virginia|
|A||Hagerstown Suns||South Atlantic League||Hagerstown, Maryland|
|Short Season A||Auburn Doubledays||New York-Penn League||Auburn, New York|
|Rookie||GCL Nationals||Gulf Coast League||West Palm Beach, Florida|
|DSL Nationals||Dominican Summer League||Dominican Republic|
|AAA||International League||Columbus Clippers (2007-08)
New Orleans Zephyrs (2005-06)
Edmonton Trappers (2003-04)
Ottawa Lynx (1993-2002)
Indianapolis Indians (1984-92)
Wichita Aeros (1982-83)
Denver Bears (1976-81)
Memphis Blues (1974-75)
Peninsula Whips (1972-73)
Winnipeg Whips (1971)
Buffalo Bisons (1970)
Vancouver Mounties (1969)
|AA||Southern League||Jacksonville Suns (1984-1990)
Memphis Chicks (1978-83)
Quebec Metros (1976-77)
Quebec Carnavals (1971-75)
Jacksonville Suns (1970)
|A||California League||San Jose Expos (1982)|
|Carolina League||Kinston Expos (1974)|
|Florida State League||Brevard County Manatees (2002-04)
Jupiter Hammerheads (1998-2001)
West Palm Beach Expos (1969-1997)
|Midwest League||Clinton Lumber Kings (2001-02)
Burlington Expos (1993-94)
Rockford Expos (1988-92)
Burlington Bees (1986-87)
|South Atlantic League||Savannah Sand Gnats (2003-06)
Cape Fear Crocs (1997-2000)
Delmarva Shorebirds (1996)
Albany Polecats (1992, 1995)
Sumter Flyers (1991)
Gastonia Expos (1983-84)
|Short Season A||New York-Penn League||Vermont Expos/Lake Monsters (1977-2010)
Jamestown Expos (1973)
|Northern League||Watertown Expos (1970-71)|
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." 
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.WJFK (1580 AM) airs any games that WFED is unable to air due to conflicts.
Nationals' telecasts are predominantly on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), with a few games picked up for free TV by Fox by way of WTTG. MASN simulcasts 20 games per season (the season opener plus 19 weekend games) on free TV in the Washington area, on WUSA.Bob Carpenter has been the TV play-by-play announcer since 2006 and F.P. Santangelo was hired in January 2011 as color analyst.Mel Proctor was the TV play-by-announcer in 2005, and former color analysts are Ron Darling (2005), Tom Paciorek (2006), Don Sutton (2007-2008), and Rob Dibble, who took over the job in 2009 and was fired in September 2010 after criticizing Stephen Strasburg for not pitching while injured. Ray Knight filled in as color analyst in September 2010 after Dibble was fired.Johnny Holliday and Knight host the Nats Xtra pregame and postgame shows.
The Nationals have an interleague rivalry with the nearby Baltimore Orioles, which is nicknamed the Beltway Series. The teams have played two series a season - one in Baltimore and one in Washington - since 2006.