Tag Archives: Gary Carter

Nationals / Expos All-Time 25-Man Roster

The Washington Nationals emerged for the 2005 season after the relocation of the original Montreal Expos franchise.
Major League Baseball expanded by four teams and split into a divisional format beginning in 1969. 
The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers) went to the American League. The Expos and San Diego Padres were  assigned to the National League.
The Montreal team was named after the successful World’s Fair “Expo 67” held there in 1967 during the Canadian Centennial celebration.
After a decade of losing, a young core of players emerged in the late 1970’s to turn the team into a contender for the first time. Then from 1979-94 the Expos were consistent winners.
There were 11 winning Expos campaigns and another two .500 seasons during that 16 year stretch. However, Montreal reached the MLB postseason only one time in its history.

EXPOS REACH THE POSTSEASON

A strike in 1981 caused Major League Baseball to split the season into two halves. The teams who finished in first place in each half would then advance to a best-of-five “League Division Series”, a first for baseball.
The defending champion Philadelphia Phillies won the first half, and the Expos won the second half. Montreal then upended the Phils in a dramatic five-game NLDS to move within a step of the franchise’ first World Series.
In the best-of-five NLCS, the Expos took a two games to one lead. The Dodgers tied it up, and the two clubs moved to a decisive Game Five. On a two-out home run by Rick Monday in the top of the 9th, the Dodgers won 2-1 to advance to the World Series.

THE STRIKE OF 1994

In 1993, the Expos re-emerged as a division power. However, the Phillies put together a magical worst-to-first season, holding Montreal off by three games to win the NL East crown.
The following year, the Expos entered the season as favorites, not only in the division, but also to win the World Series.
Montreal won 20 of 22 games beginning on July 18 to take the division lead. With a 74-40 record, the Expos led the Atlanta Braves by six games.
And then it all suddenly ended, not in defeat, but with the longest work stoppage in the history of Major League Baseball. A player strike began on August 12 and would last into the following year, cancelling the rest of the season, including the postseason.

GOODBYE, CANADA

The Expos franchise would never recover. They dropped to 5th place in 1995, recovered to win 88 games and finish in 2nd place in 1996, but then plummeted to five straight losing seasons.
An inability to get funding for a new ballpark led to rumors of a move constantly swirling, and then to MLB purchasing the club in 2002. Those relocation nightmares actually became a reality for Montreal baseball fans when the move to Washington was announced.
In their final year north of the border the club finished a dismal 67-95 and in last place. The first season in D.C. resulted in a .500 finish, but the losing continued with six straight seasons below the .500 mark.
Finally, the new Washington Nationals began to contend with a 98-64 record in 2012, winning the first division title in franchise history.
With a new group of young stars, the Nationals have now become perennial contenders in the National League. The 2016 season resulted in their third NL East crown in the last five years.
One thing continues to elude the franchise in Washington. The club remains one of eight current Major League Baseball teams to never have even reached the World Series.

NOT MAKING THE CUT

Selecting a 25-Man roster for the franchise was a difficult proposition. They have had an abundance of strong, interesting outfielders and first basemen in their history.
Aside from their obvious Hall of Famer, selecting a backup catcher was a tough chore. There are a handful of decent options.
There were a number of players who you won’t find, but who contributed mightily to the history of the organization.
Included among these are shortstops Chris SpeierOrlando Cabrera and Tim Foli. Catchers Brian Schneider and Darrin Fletcher are not selected.
Outfielders Warren CromartieRondell White, and Jayson Werth fell short. So did infielders Larry Parrish and Andres Galarraga. I opted for versatility and projection in the infield.
Since I forced myself to carry at least two relievers, getting down to the 7th-9th best starting pitchers leads to difficult decisions. That was again the situation here.
On the mound, not making the cut were arms such as Steve RenkoBill StonemanBill GullicksonScott SandersonCharlie LeaJeff FasseroChad CorderoUgueth Urbina, and John Wetteland.
So who did make the cut? The Nationals / Expos All-Time 25-Man Roster includes 11 pitchers (two true relievers), two catchers, six infielders, and six outfielders.

Tim Raines Deserves Hall of Fame

Voting for the next class of inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame will take place over the next couple of months.
One of the leading contenders for enshrinement in 2017 will be former Montreal Expos outfielder Tim Raines. One of baseball’s biggest stars during the 1980s, Raines is in his final year of eligibility to be considered by the regular voters.
When you examine Raines’ career, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine why he is not already enshrined at Cooperstown.

RAINES CALLED SIX CITIES HOME

Raines played in parts of 23 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1979 through 2002. He became a starter for the first time in 1981. Raines played with the Expos through the 1990 season after which he was traded to the Chicago White Sox.
He then played with the ChiSox through 1995 after which he was dealt to the New York Yankees. Raines would win the World Series with the Yanks in both 1996 and 1998.
Raines would hang on for a few more seasons, making stops with the Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, and Florida Marlins.
He also made a brief return to Montreal in 2001, and finally retired after playing in 98 games at age 42 during the 2002 season in Florida.

A TOP PLAYER OF THE 1980’S

Raines led Major League Baseball in stolen bases every year from 1981 through 1984. He swiped 70 or more bags in every one of those seasons, and then on through the 1986 campaign.
He led all of baseball in runs scored in both 1983 and 1987, and scored 90 or more runs on eight occasions.
Raines led the National League in doubles in 1984, and won an NL batting title in 1986 when he also led the league in on-base percentage.
The 1981 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up, he won the Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year honors that season.

Raines was an NL All-Star each year from 1981-87. He received NL MVP votes seven times, finishing 5th in the voting for the 1983 season.
He won a Silver Slugger Award in 1986, and was the Most Valuable Player of the 1987 MLB All-Star Game.

RAINES AMONG ALL-TIME EXPOS

The Montreal Expos became an expansion team in the National League for the 1969 season, the first franchise outside of the United States. The club existed north of the border through the 2004 campaign after which the team was relocated to Washington, becoming today’s Nationals.
Raines is second in all-time career WAR in Expos/Nationals franchise history. Hall of Famer Gary Carter leads that category, just ahead of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. In 2013, Raines was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
He is the Expos’ all-time career leader in runs, singles, triples, walks, stolen bases, and runs created. Raines holds the club single-season records for plate appearances and runs. He shares the single-season triples record.
The trio of Raines, Carter, and Dawson played together from 1981 through the 1984 season. In 1981 they led the Expos to their only postseason appearance. That year, Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in a dramatic five games in the first-ever NLDS. They were eliminated in a tough five-game NLCS by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

SOME RAINES STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS

A speed player, Raines’ final career numbers reveal 808 stolen bases and a career .294/.385/.425 slash line with 1,571 runs scored, 430 doubles, and 113 triples.
Per the Daily Ace Report (subscribe here), Raines had four seasons in which he produced 70+ steals and 50+ extra-base hits, more than any player in baseball history.
In 1983 he became the first player in the 20th century and one of only three all-time to record a 90+ steals and 50+ extra-base hits season.
He has a career 69.1 WAR figure, ranking as the 108th highest player of all-time. He is 73rd all-time among position players.

POST-PLAYING CAREER AND CONTROVERSY

Raines served as a minor league manager and a big league coach after retiring. He was the White Sox first base coach when the club won the 2005 World Series.
The lone controversy in Raines’ career involves his use of cocaine during the 1980s. That was the recreational drug of choice for many players in those days.
Raines was one of many players to testify in the Pittsburgh drug trials of 1985. The trials were a catalyst for a major MLB drug scandal at that time that included other high-profile players including Keith HernandezDave Parker, and Vida Blue.

RAINES AND THE HALL OF FAME

Raines was first eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2008 when he received just 24.3 percent of the vote. His case has been taken up by sabermetricians in recent years, and his vote share has steadily risen.
Last year, Raines finished fourth in the voting for Hall of Fame induction behind the two men who were ultimately enshrined, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, and former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell.
Raines received 69.8 percent of the voter support. This was just a bit short of the 75 percent required for enshrinement. He is considered a favorite this time along with Bagwell, who received 71.6 percent. One of the game’s great closers, Trevor Hoffman, who received 67.3 percent of last year’s vote, is also a favorite this time around.
Tim Raines was a difference-making player for the entirety of the 1980s. He is on the Montreal Expos’ symbolic “Mount Rushmore” as an all-time player. In my opinion, it is time for the voters to honor him with a bust in the Baseball Hall of Fame.