Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Nationals Do The Right Thing (Somewhat)

For the past 6 years the Washington Nationals (formerly known as the Montreal Expos) have given me the impression that they are trying to distance themselves from their past. I guess, in a way, we can compare them to a person who led a life of crime, turned on his cohorts and then entered the Witness Protection Program. The Expos had a life in Montreal, then when things went sour, they abandoned the city, changed their identity and moved to Washington D.C., leaving behind all traces of their prior existence.

And why would I think such a thing?

For starters, the Nationals DID NOT honor the numbers retired by the Expos and had the audacity to put them back in circulation. While in Montreal, the Expos had retired the No. 8 for Gary Carter, the No. 10 (twice) for Andre Dawson and Rusty Staub and the No. 30 for Tim Raines. But today, these numbers are no longer retired by the franchise. Justin Maxwell is currently wearing No. 30 and bench coach John McLaren is currently wearing No. 8. In the past, former players Royce Clayton and Ronnie Belliard wore No. 10.

To me it's a dishonor and a slap in the face to those great Expos players. The Nationals should be ashamed of themselves.

But on Tuesday, they at least unveiled a new Hall of Fame Ring of Honor at Nationals Park, which recognizes players who are in the Hall of Fame and spent a significant part of their careers with the Nationals, the Expos, the Washington Senators and the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues.

2010 Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson along with fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter were at the ceremonies as the Nationals FINALLY HONORED them and their Hall of Fame careers. Dawson and Carter are the only two players who are in the Hall of Fame as Expos.

So the Nationals deserve to be applauded for their new Ring of Honor, which at least recognizes 2 of the 4 players.

As for the Expos retired numbers, the jury is still out on whether or not they'll re-retire them. But looking at the current roster, I did notice that no player is wearing Dawson's No. 10 and if bench coach McLaren had any baseball history IQ, he would voluntarily stop wearing Carter's No. 8. I know I would.

And outfielder Justin Maxwell, who apparently has no baseball history IQ either, should be told who the No. 30 once belonged to. Someone should inform him that, once upon a time, the Nationals played in a different city under a different identity and the guy who wore No. 30 was one of the best players in baseball for a LONG time.

Maybe then Maxwell would do the right thing and voluntarily stop wearing No. 30.

But at least now, with the Ring of Honor, the Nationals are starting to get some idea of what baseball history really means BUT putting those retired numbers back in circulation is still inexcusable.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images
For a prior post on this issue follow this link


  1. It's time for the Cubs to do the right thing too and retire Hawk's number. Jeez, the guy took a slap in the face to play for their team and only went out won MVP.

    Andre show the Cubs a lot of love in his hall of fame ceremony speech, time for the Cubs to show their love back.

  2. Excellent point, Charley. I'm actually surprised, I thought the Cubs had retired his number by now.

  3. Not yet, they said if he went into the Hall as a Cub they would retire his number. That is silly, if it was Hawk's choice he would have went as a Cub.