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Saturday, January.12, 2013
I took the photo in Cooperstown, after driving from Boston to baseball’s Mayberry with three buddies for my first look at the game’s red-bricked shrine. When we entered the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, just off the museum’s lobby, I instinctively knew which of the immortals I wanted to visit first. Walking through the years to the 1966 induction class, I found him on the wall right alongside Casey Stengel:
The picture stands today as the symbol of an era — and innocence — lost. In it, Roger Clemens and Ted Williams share confident, youthful smiles. Williams is, quite literally, a bronzed God, staring out at the photographer in his tanned, All-American glory. Clemens, wearing a fresh, clean Red Sox uniform, also has the look of a man who knows exactly what he wants out of life.
Williams yearned to be the world’s greatest hitter; Clemens the top pitcher. At the time of the picture, in 1988, both had reached their goal.
Ted Williams Tribute Piece from 2002:
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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
It’s amazing that both Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, two of the greatest two-sport athletes of all-time, were both drafted by the same MLB General Manager. John Schuerholz, now the Team President of the Atlanta Braves, drafted Jackson, Sanders, Adam Wainwright, Jason Heyward, Jermaine Dye, and numerous other superstars during his time as General Manager of the Royals and the Braves. Schuerholz is a legend around baseball front offices. Teams he has controlled as General Manager have won their division fifteen times. John Schuerholz has left his legacy in the game of baseball. Schuerholz deserves to be recognized for his career by an induction to the Hall of Fame.
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Friday, December.07, 2012
Since the list of Hall of Fame nominees was announced in the last month, I’ve been pondering whether first-time candidate Roger Clemens would be earn my vote if I had one to give.
The Rocket has undeniable Cooperstown credentials, topped by a record seven Cy Young Awards, the 1986 AL MVP, and 354 victories. He struck out 4,672 batters during his long career, a total topped only by Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, and twice had 20-K games in which he didn’t walk a single batter. That combination of power and control also helped Roger Clemens lead his league in ERA seven times.
In my memory bank of Red Sox pitchers, which dates to the mid-’70s, only Pedro Martinez resonates as more dominant over a sustained period of time. But while Pedro was a delicate thoroughbred rarely allowed to reach past the seventh inning, Clemens was a good-old-fashioned workhorse who regularly finished what he started. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday November 3rd, 2012
Luke Whitecotton: Pete Rose likes to talk baseball whenever he gets the chance to. When the subject comes up of someone breaking his all-time hits record, you know that Pete will always express his opinion. Since he is banned from baseball and will not likely ever make it into the Hall of Fame, you can’t help but think if this record is his “hall of fame”. That is likely why he is so protective of it. Pete Rose probably doesn’t want to hear that records are meant to be broken, and his one day will. But do any current active players even have a remote chance at the all-time hits record? There is a player out there who, if everything goes absolutely right, and the stars align could very well break this record. The climb to get there will be astronomical, and when you see the stats one would have to get in order to be successful, you probably will agree there is no way it will happen. Well in baseball if there is a will and a way, a record is probably going to be broken. Cal Ripken broke the record of most consecutive games played, which everyone thought that was unbreakable. Barry Bonds (who with a little help one might say), broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. And maybe one day someone will break the 56 game hit streak. So you see Pete Rose- someone could break your all-time hits record. With a little luck and skill, that guy is playing the game today. His name? Derek Jeter. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday November 1st, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer)
The St. Louis Cardinals came into 2012 as the defending World Series Champions. In 2011 they just eked their way into the post season on the final day of the regular season when they defeated the Houston Astros and the Braves, who were tied for the wild card spot with St. Louis, ended up losing to the Phillies in extra innings. Coming into the 2011 postseason, the Cardinals were huge underdogs. That didn’t stop them from going for what they wanted: to win it all.
While most analysts amongst the sport would not have guessed St. Louis would even make it to the World Series, yet alone win it, the Red Birds emerged to show their true colors. The current team that the city of St. Louis has assembled and gets to watch for 81 games a year is, undoubtedly, a team that plays on all cylinders and the highest octane fuel. They play with the intensity of a little league team that wants nothing more than the coach to bring them out for ice cream when they win. Watching the Cardinals brand of baseball is to watch baseball again as a game, and not just as a competition played by millionaire athletes with tremendous talent.
Watching the scrappiness of St. Louis native David Freese in the 2011 playoffs is the perfect example. His David Eckstein-like approach to the game reminds us all of one of our teammates back in middle school. The one at the sandlot that always slid hard, tried to steal home, and complained when the rest of us wanted to go home because “it was getting dark”. In 2011, David Freese and his 39 teammates played baseball together as a true team and sent Tony LaRussa home with a World Series title in his final year managing. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday October 28th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: This past spring, I had the chance to converse on the telephone with one of the greatest players of my generation. Middle-of-the-order power bat, combined with gold glove defense. Matt Williams is everything a manager could want in a baseball player. He showed up every day and played the game hard. Ran out every ground ball. Dove for every ball at third base. Consistently got his jersey dirty. Never complained to the media or spoke poorly about management or a teammate. Matt Williams was the ultimate professional, on and off the field. And now here he was, on the other end of the line conversing with me. It will be a baseball talk that I will never forget. Matt Williams has that strong of a presence.
I actually grew up a Giants fan, with the highlight of my baseball life being the 1989 Giants playoff run. But once Matt Williams and Will Clark left the Bay area, I was so devastated that I decided to never forgive the Giants. But I continued to follow the players that I idolized, through the rest of their playing days and into the next phases of their respective careers. Once Comerica Park opened, I grew to adopt the Tigers as my main team. The proximity to Detroit from my hometown made the Tigers a natural fit for me. But I was always a baseball fan first and foremost. If I respected a player, I followed them regardless of the team(s) they played for. Studying the history of the Tigers, I started to think about some of their former players. Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell came to mind. Both were hard-nosed players who went on to manage in the big leagues. Gibson was a coach under Trammell in Detroit. Now Trammell is the bench coach in Arizona under Kirk Gibson. The team enjoyed an incredible run in 2011 and are still seen as a team on the rise. Ironically enough, Gibson’s third base coach? Matt Williams, of course. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday October 27th, 2012
Luke Whitecotton (Guest Writer):
Let me thrown four names out there: Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. What do these guys have in common? Two are Hall of Famers and two more are on their way. All were big game money pitchers. And most importantly, they are all 300 game winners.
Will we ever see another 300 game winner in baseball? Quite frankly, I don’t think we will.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a fan I would love to see it happen again in my lifetime. It would bring me almost as much pure joy as watching Greg Maddux pitch in his prime. As part of my analysis, I looked squarely at the odds and stats to determine the difficulty level of reaching that plateau in this day and age in baseball. Jamie Moyer, who will turn 50 in November, has 269 wins. Roy Halladay, who is 35 years old, has 199 wins. Andy Pettitte, who is 40 years old, has 245 wins in his career. You can see where I am going with this, as for some of these guys to keep pitching at the required level to reach the golden 300 mark is just too big of an obstacle to overcome. Just a little note by the way, Nolan Ryan was 43 years old and was considered one of the most durable pitchers ever. When you consider what Ryan had to do to win 300, you really start to feel the force that these star pitchers are up against. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I love the new era of baseball. One thing the 2nd Wild Card team enabled this year was a flurry of transactions right near the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, plus we even saw a bunch of trades between Aug.01-31 as well. I am not going to breakdown the trades for who went the other way (unless both teams were in contention) since we have a dedicated page for that here. What I am going to do is see who made out well with their new player. I will tell you right now that the hands down winner was the San Francisco Giants for picking up Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence. Marco Scutaro hit .362 for the Giants and smacked 90 hits in 61 games. He has parlayed another 19 hits in 59 AB during the playoffs (.322).
I am going to be writing a series of payroll breakdowns for each MLB team in the offseason. I have already compiled reports for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals. These reports can be found in my author archives here. In addition to this, I am going to write another piece on Payroll Strategy specifically geared towards making runs at trades near the deadline. Look for those in the coming weeks. The work never ends here, and we will have you game ready for spring training when it comes to all of the clubs. Read the rest of this entry
Monday October 8th, 2012
Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent, Twitter @PatrickLanguzzi):
I’ll be honest, when my editor handed me the assignment of posting my thoughts on Keith Hernandez and the Hall of Fame, I initially thought: Was Hernandez ever really a “superstar”? Aren’t those the kind of players that generally get elected to the Hall of Fame?
Hernandez lasted nine years on the Hall of Fame ballot, peaking in 1998 at 10.8 percent of the votes. He was the 1979 National League Most Valuable Player. Hernandez finished his career with a .296 batting average, was selected to five All-Star games, received two-Silver Slugger Awards, won a record setting 11 Gold Gloves, and is arguably considered the greatest fielding first baseman of all-time.
So why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame? Read the rest of this entry
Monday September 17th, 2012
Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent, Twitter @PatrickLanguzzi):
Mike Piazza made his last major league appearance on September 30, 2007, which means Piazza will be eligible for his first National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot this December (the required five years before a player is deemed eligible).
Nicknamed the “Pizza Man” because he always delivered, Piazza’s record is as impressive as the rumors are pervasive.
Piazza was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a favor to his father by Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. He was drafted as the 1,390th pick in the 62nd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball (MLB) Amateur Draft. He made his major league debut on September 1, 1992.
In 1993, his first full year in the majors, Piazza won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, hitting an impressive .318 with 35 home runs and 112 RBIs, as well as being selected to MLB’s All-Star game. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, September 10 , 2012
Sam Evans: The Houston Astros are most likely not going to win seventy games next year. With a young starting rotation, it would make sense for the Astros to pursue a veteran starter for the 2013 season. Not because it would put Houston over the top and have them competing for a playoff spot, but because a veteran could have a positive influence on the younger starters and limit their innings. Roger Clemens has expressed in interest in returning to Houston and he has impressed in two starts for Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic League. Houston should give Roger Clemens a spring training non-roster invite to see if he can pitch in the majors in 2013.
In just his second start with Sugar Land, Clemens got the opportunity to pitch to his son Koby Clemens. After the game, Clemens said “What a special game this is when you have opportunity at 50 to go out there and play a little catch with your oldest son.” That’s an awesome quote. Anyways, Clemens fastball was sitting at 86-88 MPH and he threw his curveball, changeup, and splitter as well. The Rocket pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings. In eight innings for Sugar Land, Clemens has yet to allow a run.
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Strasburg, Valentine, Rolen to Cooperstown, Josh Hamilton to the Red Sox and More
Sunday September 9th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Jonathan Hacohen: Many great questions this week people, as always. With the playoffs and WBC qualifiers around the corner, people are baseball crazy! Every week it is getting harder and harder to select the questions for ATR. People are feeling baseball fever and I see it in every corner. From the comments on our site, your e-mails, tweets and posts on Facebook, we hear from each of you in so many ways. Ah….gotta love the age of social media! Make sure to keep the questions and comments coming every week. You never know when your baseball insight will appear on MLB reports!
Before I get into this week’s questions, a quick comment. Saturday become lockdown day for Stephen Strasburg. From the second I jumped into my car yesterday and turned on MLB Network Radio, all I heard was Davey Johnson shutting down Stras for the year. I like Davey, but I have to say that blaming the media pressure is weak. In case you weren’t aware, Strasburg was supposed to have one more start next week before officially being shutdown for the season. Now, he is done for the year. Just like that.
People ask me all the time if I think the Nationals are doing the right thing. My response is a clear: NO! I cannot ascertain for the life of me what the Nats are thinking. They are committing the equivalent of baseball suicide in my book. When you have the chance to go far in the playoffs, you go for it. Period. There is no medical evidence of any clear cutoff point for Strasburg’s season. The reality is that any innings limit is a guess by the team. There is no true merit for shutting him down. Even Dr. Lewis Yocum has indicated that there is no clear sign of whether Strasburg should not pitch further. But let’s say we are even going to say that 160 innings was Strasburg’s limit. The Nationals knew this for some time and could have arranged their rotation to fit the limit. Skipping starts earlier in the season and limiting innings per start would have allow Strasburg to pitch further into the year, including the postseason. What was the use of having him pitch into games when the Nats had a commanding lead in the NL East?
The Nats have a 5.5 game lead as of today. If the lead gets cut any further, wouldn’t it have been nice to have your team pitching for you at the end of the year? What about a Wild Card one-game sudden death playoff? NLDS? NLCS? World Series? The bottom line is this: if the Nationals do not win the world series, Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo will have Strasburg-Gate hanging over them for the rest of their lives. Never mind the fact that the kid is upset and may never forgive the team for not letting him compete. There is a roster full of guys busting their behinds for a championship. Removing one of their top weapons for the playoffs hurts team morale, confidence and the ability to compete. We never know what next year or future years will bring. 2012 is a special year for Washington. You always go for it when you can.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Sunday September 9th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: Have you ever had the thought of “what if?” That old thought of what could have been, or even what should have been. Everyone has it and its ok. Some think of a love that was had and lost, others think of opportunities that were available to them that they didn’t take for one reason or another. Don’t feel bad about thinking this way. It’s human nature to think what could have happened if something else had gone differently. Some people obsess over this and think about it constantly and allow it to take over their lives. Others just chalk up the so-called missed opportunities as all part of the plan of a supreme being because that is what was meant to happen. What would have happened had the United States not dropped the atomic bomb on Japan twice? How long would the conflict have gone on? Would the U.S. and the Soviet Union have gone into a 50 year cold war? On the flip side though, how many lives did it save? If we look at the sports world, what would the basketball years of the 90’s look like had we not had Michael Jordan flying through the sky with his tongue hanging out of his mouth? What if he did play but it was for the Celtics instead of the Bulls? How different would the 90’s have been? Let’s take this to baseball because we all know that’s why you are here. How would the results have been different if the Red Sox would have had Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter instead of the Yankees? It is questions like this that keep people like me busy because I get to write articles such as this one.
I like games especially of the “what if” variety and we are going to play this game with Ted Williams. Before we get started though, we will dissect this man as a player and look at the career numbers that he put up. There are very few people who put up the career numbers that Williams did. He carries a career average of .344 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs. How many players right now would kill for even one season of those numbers let alone career averages? According to www.baseballreference.com he ranks as the 8th best hitter by the numbers in the history of the game. He only trails the guys that we know only by their last name: Ruth, Mays, Cobb, Hornsby, Wagner, Musial, and Gehrig. So in order to play this game, we have to establish some general information about Williams. First fact is that he played in 22 active MLB seasons. Second fact is that he missed three seasons due to military service in World War 2. Now remember that he missed these three seasons in the prime of his career. He would have been 24, 25, and 26 in these seasons. Why do I bring this up? Those three seasons came right after he had probably the most prolific offensive career in the history of the game of baseball. In one season he scored 135 runs, hit 37 home runs, knocked in 137 while drawing 145 walks. Oh yeah… he hit .406 that year with an OPS of 1.287! Coming off of a season like that one, we can only imagine what he would have done during those following three years. So are you ready to play “what if?” Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday August 29th, 2012
Sam Evans: Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If Cooperstown picked candidates with regard to their off-field activities, players like Dick Williams and Mickey Mantle might have never been chosen to the elite class that is the Hall of Fame. If Hall of Fame voters look at Clemens’ career numbers, they’ll find it hard to not see him as having one of the best starting pitching careers we’ve ever seen. Clemens is currently pitching with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters after five years away from the game. It’s been only one game so far, with more possibly to come. Let’s look at Clemens, his first start, and how he stacks up against some of his teammates.
Roger Clemens ranks eighth all-time among major leaguers in WAR, and second among starting pitchers (145.5). His upper 90’s fastball, nasty splitter, and above-average changeup led him to over 300 wins and a twenty-four year career in the majors. His last season, in 2007 with the New York Yankees, Clemens still managed to pitch at a fairly high level, posting a 4.14 FIP in seventeen starts. His average fastball velocity was just over 90 MPH for the 2007 season.
After Clemens figured out a bunch of legal things, he “tried out” for the Sugar Land Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League, and made the team. In his first start on Saturday, August 25th, Clemens lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, not walking a batter, and striking out two. Facing a Bridgeport team that features former major leaguers Joey Gathright and Shea Hillebrand, Clemens topped out at 88 MPH and got a few outs via his splitter. Read the rest of this entry
Friday August 24th, 2012
Did you know Santo was elected on his 20th attempt via the Golden Era committee (Veterans) some 31 years after he first became eligible for the Hall of Fame?
Since 1936, only 207 former major league players have ever been elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. That’s about 1.17 percent of more than 17,000 players who have worn a major league uniform.
Of the 207 players elected to date, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) has elected 112 candidates, or 54 percent. Conversely, 95 major leaguers, or 46 percent, have been elected through other means (in all of its forms) such as the Veterans Committee, Old-Timers Committee, Centennial Commission and other special election of committees, to name a few.
For those not familiar, qualified members of the BBWAA vote annually by submitting a maximum of 10 eligible pre-screened players whom they would consider worthy of induction. In order to be elected, a player must be named on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday August 14th, 2012
Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent, Twitter @PatrickLanguzzi): On July 22nd, 2012, Ron Santo was inducted into The National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Santo, a long time radio broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs, had no reservations about sharing his passion for baseball, his beloved Cubs and the Hall of Fame, where he felt he had always belonged.
And, according to Joe Lemire of SI.com’s inside baseball, Santo once told Chicago Magazine, “The last thing I want is to die and then be put into the Hall of Fame. It’s not because I won’t be there to enjoy it, exactly. It’s because I want to enjoy it with family and friends and fans. I want to see them enjoy it.”
Sadly, we lost Ron Santo before he ever got a chance to receive the phone call he longed to yearn for. Santo passed away slightly more than a year (and two days) to the day he was to finally be elected into baseballs highest pantheon.
“This is not a sad day, not at all. This is a very happy day… I am certain that Ronnie is celebrating with us right now.” -Vicki Santo
On December 5, 2011, Ron Santo was voted into the Hall of Fame 15-1 by the Golden Era committee (Veterans) some 31 years after he first became eligible. At the end of the day, few will remember how a player got into Cooperstown, or how long it took. Once the plaques are on the famed wall, all hall of famers are treated the same. It took too long, but Ron Santo’s plaque is finally where it belongs. Read the rest of this entry
Monday July 23, 2012
Robert Whitmer: If you ask any player that is in the game today, the two goals that they have is to win a World Series and to make the Hall of Fame. The players that you could question about that have a desire. Let’s talk about that word for a minute. Desire; what exactly does it mean. I think that motivational speaker Les Brown defined it very adequately. “Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” Obviously this is speaking about the highest level of desire. This is the level that you must have in order to accomplish the goals that are mentioned here. Desire at this level means that you spend the extra time in the weight room to increase your stamina, taking 100 more grounders after you already took 1000 in practice, and be willing to slide one more time after your legs are already burning from sliding the first 50 times.
Desire is what fuels them, the yearning to be the best of the best because number two is just not good enough. Losing desire of this level is just crippling for anyone. If it’s in our professional lives at work, or in our personal lives with our spouse, boy/girl friend, or significant other, you must maintain a desire to continue to make yourself better. If it is lost, then you as a person will remain stagnant. I believe that our purpose for being here on this earth is start as a little child, knowing nothing, but with the ability to learn and grow to become the best person that we can become. When we are children, we rely on our parents’ desire to make us the best people that we can become, until we develop the desire of our own. It is this desire that pushes us towards our goals. This Sunday, July 22, 2012, Barry Louis Larkin became one of the best of the best in the game of baseball. You see- you can have role players win a World Series title, but that doesn’t mean they are one of the best all-time players. It takes a special player, however, to get into the Hall of Fame. Barry Larkin is now officially part of that elite class of ballplayers. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday July 22nd, 2012
By Patrick Languzzi (Guest Baseball Writer):
As we embark on baseball’s most exciting weekend, the eyes of baseball fans everywhere will be on Cooperstown, NY for the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Larkin was elected through the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and Santo via the Veterans Committee after falling off the ballot in 1998.
The Veterans committee consists of 16 members made up of veteran media members, executives and current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For a player to be elected, they must receive 75 percent or 12 of 16 votes.
But there’s another player that I’ll take a special interest in come the winter meetings of 2013. That’s when the Expansion Era ballot (Veterans) finalists are announced. It’s also when former Red Sox great Dwight “Dewey” Evans becomes eligible again. Evans fell off the BBWAA ballot back in 1999. Now his chance to shine comes up again very soon. Read the rest of this entry
Monday July 16, 2012
Robert Whitmer (Baseball Writer):
“The Dash” by Linda Ellis
I read of a reverend who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning…to the end. He said that the first was the date of her birth, and spoke of the last date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth, and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own; the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left – (you could be at “dash mid-range.”) If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So, when your eulogy is being read with your life’s action to rehash, would you be pleased with what they say about how you spent your dash? Read the rest of this entry
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- When looking back at some of the pitchers that the Montreal Expos have had in their organization, you don’t have go down the list very far to find Randy Johnson. He is the ‘crown jewel’ of the draft history record for the club. It is unfortunate the ‘The Big Unit’ was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Mariners for rental player Mark Langston and a player to be named later. To be fair to the Montreal Expos, they were in serious contention for the pennant in 1989 and were trying to chase down the Chicago Cubs. Langston was one of the top Left Handed Aces in the Majors and he was available. Johnson was completely wild in the Minor Leagues and the Expos had a lot of veteran pitchers like Dennis Martinez and Bryn Smith that were on the back end of their careers. The time to try and win was now and they could not wait for Johnson to come around. The Expos did not succeed in capturing the pennant and Langston moved onto the California Angels as a free agent while Johnson blossomed into the premier left handed pitcher in his generation. Speaking of Martinez and Smith, they won 100 and 81 games respectively for the club. While they were not drafted by the Expos, they are 2nd and 3rd on the all-time win list.
Along with Smith and Dennis Martinez (who threw a perfect game as an Expo in 1991 and note: Bill Stoneman also threw two no-hitters for the franchise), you have to factor in the career of Pedro Martinez as an Expo for guys that were great pitchers during their prime. Pedro was acquired prior to the 1994 season from the Dodgers in exchange for the Expos departed ALL-Star second baseman Delino DeShields. Martinez went 11-5 in the strike shortened year and formed an impressive 1-2 ace combination with Ken Hill. Pedro went onto a 55-33 record and a 3.06 ERA for his 4 year Expos career. Pedro’s best year with the club was 1997 where he was the NL CY Young with a 17-8 record and a 1.90 ERA. Martinez finished the year with 305 strikeouts and a ridiculous 13 complete games. Pedro ended up signing with the Boston Red Sox before the 1998 season and he ultimately won a World Series with the Beantowners in 2004. In his post game celebration, Martinez mentioned the Expos franchise and their fans. Pedro shared his triumph as a testament to them. It was talent like this that Expos could never afford to resign and would lose outright- or have to trade for prospects based on their economic viability. I will get more into this in Part 3 of the Article Series on Friday.
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Hitters: click here
For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here