Nationals should honor retired Expos numbers

PHOENIX — The Nationals will be opening the doors to their Montreal
past next Tuesday night when they honor Andre Dawson before the game
against the Marlins in Washington. Dawson, who was inducted into the
National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, played his first 11 seasons
for the Expos, the franchise that moved to the nation’s capital after
the 2004 season.

Dawson and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter will
be at Nationals Park next week. Tim Raines, who is managing the independent Minor League
Newark Bears, has also been invited.
 
It would be fitting if the
Nationals recognize their retired numbers. Before the team’s demise
after 36 seasons in Quebec, the Expos retired three numbers representing
four of their key players: Rusty, The Hawk, The Kid and The Rock.

Rusty Staub and Dawson each wore No. 10, Carter wore No. 8 and Raines wore No. 30.

A
local rap artist named Annakin Slayd, who attended Expos games at Olympic Stadium as a kid
until the time the team left, produced an emotional video about the team’s
history that’s worth watching.

The Hawk, though, hasn’t been told whether his number is being re-retired and the Nationals haven’t been definitive. Like Carter before him, Dawson went into the Hall with the Expos logo engraved on his plaque.

Since
the move, the Nationals have allowed other players to wear those numbers. It would be
like the Los Angeles Dodgers using the numbers of their retired Brooklyn
players or the San Francisco Giants disregarding the memories of their
New York era. That hasn’t happened. Those retired numbers still stand.

It’s time for the Nationals to put their retired Expos numbers in mothballs
with that period of franchise history, honoring Rusty, The Hawk, The Kid
and The Rock.

3 Comments

Barry, I agree that the Expos numbers should be honored by the Nats. This brings me to one of my resent pet pives. The Dodgers continue to have players use 2 numbers that should be retired. Even though I am a Giants fan, I recognize the importance of Gil Hodges (#14) and Maury Wills (#30) are to the history of the Dodgers. I think that the Dodgers should honor that contribution to their franchise, by retiring their numbers.

I really don’t see the point in Washington retiring the Expos numbers. What purpose will it serve. My memories of the Expos ended when the franchise moved out of Montreal (also had to endure those brutal games in Puerto Rico) but for all intensive purposes, I was never the same Expo fanatic after losing 1994, the strike year, when the Expos were the clear favourites to win the World Series. The firesale that happened right after was the final straw, knowing that the franchise was the walking dead at that point.

As long as Tim Raines rightfully so makes it to the Hall of Fame my memories of the Expos will be not only be fulfilled, but completed. Raines should have been elected in his first year of eligibility, and it is a complete farce that he is not in. Check out http://www.raines30.com to learn all you need to know about the greatness of my favourite Expo of all time.

As “The Last Expos Fan” (see my own blog!) I obviously will disagree with the last post – but only in terms of the Expos being dead. After attending the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, it’s clear that a large number of Montrealers are keeping the memories of the Expos alive. My key point – MLB killed the Expos, not its fans. They’ll never really be gone if we keep the great memories alive. And as for Tim Raines – you don’t need to convince me at all. When you dig into the comparison between Tim Raines and Lou Brock – the closest comparison in the Hall – it’s striking that Raines has an edge in most categories. Raines was a much better fielder (Brock was at best average), had a better on-base percentage (a more important stat than batting average for a table setter), a much better success rate at stealing, and although Brock has 3000 hits and Raines doesn’t, Raines actually got on base more times in his career. He’s also got a batting title in his resume. When you sit down and really assess the 1987 season, as well, you’ll find that Raines was a much better choice for MVP than his former teammate, Andre Dawson, who hit 49 homers but for a team that was never in the race. Truly…he’s an oversight.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: