I remember the Expos (now the Nationals) and how bad they were. In my opinion, it was management that was the problem because they always had talent on the field. Maybe not a complete team of talented players but they had great players throughout their history. Though they had some heralded veterans that already made a name for themselves, they were considered an advanced farm system at the major league level that produced great talent.
Just to name drop a few that went on to have strong if not great careers (mostly for other teams)….
Andre Dawson – Was one of the few that played in Montreal for many years. He spent his first 11 years with the Expos before going to the Cubs for the next six. Also played two seasons with Boston and Florida before retiring after a great 21-year career (no championship).
Gary Carter – Another HOF player that played with the Expos for his first 11 years before getting shipped off to the New York Mets. He was able to win a World Series Championship with the Mets in 1986, in the unforgetable series against the Red Sox where Bill Buckner botched the grounder to first base.
Tim Raines – Had many of his best years (12) with the Expos but is still better known for his days with the New York Yankees where he won two World Series Championships.
Andres Galarraga – Spent his first 7 years with Montreal before going to Colorado. He is best known for his days in Colorado and Atlanta, specifically 1994-1998 where he hit 31 or more homeruns including three years in a row of 41+ homeruns.
Marquis Grissom – Had many great years in Montreal but it was not until he was sent to Atlanta that he made his mark in the mid/late 90’s with the great Atlanta Braves teams that competed for glory on an annual basis, including a World Series Championship in 1995.
Pedro Martinez – Pedro actually did not start off with Montreal, he came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade (for Delino DeShields) and had three average years. On his fourth year, however, he came into his own. He went 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA including 13 complete games and 4 shutouts. It was also his first Cy Young award. After the season, he was moved to Boston where he played for seven years and, though he played for other teams before retiring, it was his mark on the Boston Red Sox team that will be remembered. He went on to have a HOF career which included eight All Star appearances, three Cy Youngs Awards (7 nominations) and a World Series Championship in 2004 with Boston. This was the year that they beat the Yankees and lifted the dreaded “Bambino Curse”. But for me, he will always be remembered as the player that threw a 72-year old man to the ground. During a bench clearing brawl between the Redsox and Yankees (during 2003 ALCS), bench coach Don Zimmer was so upset with the Sox’s Pedro Martinez’s head hunting that he charged right at the pitcher, and Pedro threw Zimmer to the ground.
Larry Walker – Had six solid years with Montreal before moving on to Colorado where he had his best years. Some can say it was Colorado which inflated his number, others could mention PEDs/Juiced era, but he did win an MVP with the Rockies.
Vladmir Guerroro – Had eight great years for the Expos and put up big homerun numbers. He did however have great years with the ANA/LAA Angels where he won an MVP.
Tim Wallach – One of the era’s forgotten talents, Wallach (Expos 1st round pick in 1979) earned five All-Star berths and four Gold Gloves during his 13 years in Montreal, where he remains the franchise’s career leader in games played (1,767), at-bats (6,529), hits (1,694), total bases (2,728) and doubles (360).
Dennis Martinez – Martinez’s career sparkled upon donning an Expos uniform after spending his first ten seasons with Baltimore, capturing 100 wins while recording a solid 3.06 ERA in his eight seasons up north. Though his stay with Baltimore was shaky where he had mostly below average stats, he did have a strong season in 1981 where he went 14-5 with a 3.32 ERA. Also, he won a World Series Championship with Baltimore in 1983 even though he did not contribute during the postseason.
This series of articles will celebrate (or laugh at) some of the worst professional sports teams of all time. I will focus on teams within my lifetime so expect the worst from the 1970s to present day.
1976 was a special year for the city of Montreal. The Summer Olympics came to the city, marking the first time the Olympiad would be hosted by a Canadian city. The city’s beloved hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens resumed their dominance of the National Hockey League, winning the first of their four consecutive Stanley Cups in 1976. Finally, Montreal was still considered Canada’s largest city in 1976, but was soon usurped by Toronto.
But if there was a blight to the largest French-speaking city outside of Paris, it was their baseball team. The Montreal Expos were horrid that season finishing with a record of 55-107, 46 games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies.
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