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.
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.
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.