With the Major League Baseball postseason just beginning, I thought I would celebrate each of the franchise’s and their storied pasts by selecting an All-Time Team for every club.
The teams consist of one player per infield position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, C), three outfielders, three starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers. Each American League squad also consists of a designated hitter.
The All-Time Teams will be in order, starting with baseball’s newest clubs (Rays and Diamondbacks) and conclude with the oldest franchise, the Atlanta Braves. Without further ado, here is part eight of a 30-part series documenting each franchise’s all-time greats.
First Base: Ryan Zimmerman 2005-present
The longest tenured Expos/Nationals player of all-time, Zimmerman began his career at third base for moving across the diamond in 2015. He had a breakout season in 2009, being named an NL All-Star while winning a Gold Glove, Fielding Bible and Silver Slugger Award. Zimmerman won a second straight Silver Slugger in 2010 and in 2012 helped Washington win the NL East title for the first time since moving to the nation’s capital. He helped the Nationals win the NL East title again in 2014, 2016 and during a rebound year in 2017 was named an All-Star while helping Washington repeat as NL East champions.
Second Base: Jose Vidro 1997-06
Playing ten seasons in both Montreal and Washington, Vidro was one of the last stars of the Expos era. He was named an All-Star for the first dime during the 2000 season and added All-Star selections in 2002 and 2003 while winning a Silver Slugger as the NL’s top hitting second baseman in 2003.
Shortstop: Ian Desmond 2009-15
During his seven seasons in Washington, Desmond helped the Nationals reach new heights. During a breakout 2012 campaign he was named an NL All-Star and won a Silver Slugger while helping the club claim the NL East crown. Desmond won Silver Sluggers again from 2013-14, and helped the Nats win the 2015 NL East championship before being traded.
Third Base: Tim Wallach 1980-92
The longest tenured player from the Montreal era, Wallach became a star for the Expos. He helped the Expos win their only NL East title in 1981 and by 1984 was named an All-Star for the first time. Wallach won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger while being named an All-Star in 1985, and racked up three more All-Star selections (1987, 1989-90), two Gold Gloves (1988, 1990) and a Silver Slugger in 1987 before being dealt to the Dodgers after the 1992 campaign.
Catcher: Gary Carter 1974-84, 1992
Possibly the greatest Expos player of all-time, Carter was an All-Star by his second season in 1975. He was named an All-Star again in 1979 and won his first Gold Glove in 1980. During the 1981 season, Carter helped the Expos win the NL East title, being selected to his third All-Star team and winning a second straight Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger Award. During the final three seasons of his Montreal tenure, Carter racked up three All-Star selections, won two Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove in 1982, also leading the NL in RBI in 1984. After his career ended, Carter’s No. 8 jersey was retired by the Expos and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Outfield: Bryce Harper 2012-present
Harper made in immediate impact during his 2012 rookie season, helping the Nationals win the NL East while being named an NL All-Star and taking home NL Rookie of the Year honors. He was an All-Star again in 2013 and after an injury riddled 2014 season had a career best campaign in 2015. During the 2015 season, Harper led the NL in home runs, being named an All-Star, winning a Silver Slugger, the NL Hank Aaron Award and taking home the NL MVP Award. He was named an All-Star again in 2016-17, helping Washington win back-to-back NL East championships. During what might have been his final season in the nation’s capital, Harper was an All-Star for the sixth time in 2018, winning the Home Run Derby at Nationals Park during the All-Star Game festivities.
Outfield: Tim Raines 1979-90, 2001
During 13 seasons in Montreal, Raines was one of the top outfielders in the game. During the 1981 season he was named an All-Star for the first time, leading the NL in stolen bases and leading the Expos to the NL East title. Then from 1982-87, Raines was named an All-Star each season, leading the league in stolen bases three times and winning a Silver Slugger and NL batting title in 1986 and the MLB All-Star Game MVP in 1987. After his career, Raines had his No. 30 jersey retired in 2004 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017 on his final ballot.
Outfield (tie): Andre Dawson 1976-86
Dawson made in instant impact with Montreal, winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 1977. In 1980 he won both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger and during the 1981 season was named an All-Star for the first time, winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger while helping the Expos win the NL East championship. During the next five seasons, Dawson continued to be one of the league’s best players, being selected for the All-Star team twice (1982-83), winning four Gold Gloves (1982-85) and a Silver Slugger in 1983. After his career ended, Dawson had his No. 10 jersey retired by the Expos and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Outfield (tie): Vladimir Guerrero 1996-03
One of the Montreal era’s final star players, Guerrero began his Hall of Fame career with the Expos. He was an All-Star for the first time, winning his first Silver Slugger Award. Then during his final four seasons in Montreal, Guerrero was named an All-Star three times (2000-02), winning a Silver Slugger in 2000 and 2002 and hitting for the cycle during a game in the 2003 season. After his career, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Starting pitcher: Steve Rogers 1973-85
The Expos/Nationals all-time wins (158) and strikeouts (1,621) leader, Rogers was one of baseball’s most underrated pitchers during his 13 years in Montreal. He was named an All-Star five times (1974, 1978-79, 1982-83), leading the NL in ERA in 1982 and helping the Expos win the NL East championship in 1981.
Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer 2015-present
The biggest free agent acquisition in club history, Scherzer has been dominant since joining the Nationals. He has been named an All-Star four straight seasons, winning three straight NL strikeout titles from 2016-18 and leading the league in wins twice (2016, 2018). Scherzer has also won two NL Cy Young Awards (2016-17) and has thrown two no-hitters and tied the MLB single-game strikeout record (20) on May 11, 2016. Not only has he dominated on the mound, he has also helped the Nationals win back-to-back NL East titles from 2016-17.
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg 2010-present
During a nine-season run in Washington, Strasburg has became one of the team’s all-time best pitchers. He was named an All-Star for the first time in 2012, winning a Silver Slugger while helping the Nationals win the NL East title. Strasburg led the NL in strikeouts helping Washington win the NL East again in 2014, and from 2016-17 he was named to back-to-back All-Star teams while helping the Nationals win two straight NL East championships.
Relief pitcher: Jeff Reardon 1981-86
During a six-year stint in Montreal, Reardon became the franchise’s all-time saves leader (152). He made in instant impact after being acquired during the 1981 season, helping the Expos win the NL East championship. In 1985 he was named an All-Star for the first time, leading the NL in saves and taking home the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award. Reardon was named an All-Star again in 1986 before being dealt in the offseason.
Relief pitcher: Chad Cordero 2003-08
During a six season run in both Montreal and Washington, Cordero became one of the top closers in team history, climbing to second in the all-time saves list. He had a career season during the Nationals first season in Washington in 2005, being selected to the All-Star team while leading the NL in saves and receiving the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award.
Others considered: Rusty Staub, Hubie Brooks, Dennis Martinez, Tyler Clippard, Jordan Zimmerman