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