The Mount Rushmore of the Montreal Expos (and Washington Nationals)

1976 Topps #441 Gary Carter All-Star Rookie

OK, we roll back the clock to 1969 and the bunch of teams that all came into existence that year. One of them, the Montreal Expos, is just a memory at this point. Let’s identify the franchise’s marquis players. Washington Nationals can also be considered, but I don’t think there’s anybody from the modern era even close enough.

Here are the top Expos (or Nats) by WAR among batters:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Gary Carter 53.4 1974 1992
2 Tim Raines 47.5 1979 2001
3 Andre Dawson 46.1 1976 1986
4 Tim Wallach 34.0 1980 1992
5 Vladimir Guerrero 32.9 1996 2003
6 Ryan Zimmerman 24.9 2005 2012
7 Larry Walker 20.1 1989 1994
8 Marquis Grissom 19.2 1989 1994
9 Rondell White 18.0 1993 2000
10 Rusty Staub 17.6 1969 1979
11 Bob Bailey 17.0 1969 1975
12 Ron Fairly 16.7 1969 1974
13 Ellis Valentine 15.9 1975 1981
14 Jose Vidro 15.3 1997 2006
15 Warren Cromartie 14.0 1974 1983
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/19/2012.

Right off, the Expos’ three Hall of Famers (well, two HOFers and one future HOFer) seem like a lock to get on the monument.

Tim Wallach was a great player but during a low period for the franchise. Guerrero is probably going to make the Hall of Fame one day but did a fair amount of damage elsewhere. Larry Walker, too, but up his best-remembered numbers with Colorado.

Here’s the list for pitchers:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Steve Rogers 42.2 1973 1985
2 Dennis Martinez 28.4 1986 1993
3 Pedro Martinez 19.2 1994 1997
4 Javier Vazquez 17.1 1998 2003
5 Livan Hernandez 16.3 2003 2011
6 Bryn Smith 15.7 1981 1989
7 Jeff Fassero 15.2 1991 1996
8 Bill Gullickson 11.7 1979 1985
9 Tim Burke 11.3 1985 1991
10 Scott Sanderson 9.8 1978 1983
11 Pascual Perez 9.6 1987 1989
12 Dustin Hermanson 9.4 1997 2000
13 Ken Hill 9.4 1992 1994
14 Tomo Ohka 8.7 2001 2005
15 Mel Rojas 8.6 1990 1999
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/19/2012.

Now how about that? Pedro is 3rd all time and he played for just a few season with the Expos before the Red Sox stole him. His final season with the ‘Spos in 1997 was the beginning of his incredible run. That year he led the league in ERA, complete games (13!), WHIP, H/9, and K/9. Over the next 5 years, he led the league more often than not in each of those categories, but did so with Boston.

Anyway, Dennis Martinez and Javier Vazquez both suffer from having pitched many years in other places.

Since the Expos/Nationals have never even made a World Series, there’s not much else to say.

Please pick 4:

26 thoughts on “The Mount Rushmore of the Montreal Expos (and Washington Nationals)

  1. 1
    Phil says:

    Wanted to cast a sentimental vote for Staub, but Vlad, Raines, Dawson, and Carter seem automatic (though I understand the case for D. Martinez).

  2. 2
    Darien says:

    Yeah, Vlad, Rock, Dawson, and Carter for me, too.

  3. 3
    bstar says:

    I’m going with Carter, Raines, Dawson, and Steve Rogers over Vlad. Rogers, who pitched his whole career with the Expos, accumulated the 5th most WAR for starting pitchers in the National League in the years 1973-1985. Only Seaver, Niekro, Carlton, and Rick Reuschel had more.

    By the way, that’s a ’76 Gary Carter card but the photo is from 1974, the only year he wore #57 for Montreal before changing to #8.

    • 5
      Hartvig says:

      Those were my four as well. Besides Vlad, I gave some consideration to Le Grand Orange, Walker (because he’s actually Canadian, eh) and Zimmerman (as face of the new franchise).

      I wonder if some Nationals fan will write in Bryce Harper or Steven Strasburg?

      • 9
        Ed says:

        I went with those four too. I find, in general, that Steve Rogers is quite underrated/underappreciated. Not sure why that is. Perhaps he was overshadowed by all the other stars on those Expos teams. Or perhaps it’s his pedestrian W-L record.

        BTW, Raines, Dawson, Carter and Rogers are leading the voting right now. And they were also all teammates for a while.

        • 13
          bluejaysstatsgeek says:

          Doesn’t Rogers hold the record for the longest streak of not giving up more than 3 ER to start a career?

          • 15
            Doug says:

            Not quite. Rogers started his career with 18 starts (1973-74) without allowing more than 3 earned runs, tied for third with Dick Lange (1972-74) and Dave Lemonds (1969-72). Ahead of them are Aaron Sele at 21 games (1993-94) and Gary Peters at 25 games (1963), although Peters had 18 relief appearances over 5 seasons prior to his first start. Of those 5 pitchers, only Rogers and Sele had no relief appearances interspersed with their starts.

            Just behind them are Tom Murphy (1968) and Stan Coveleski (1918) at 16 games. Included in Murphy’s streak was 50.1 consecutive innings without an extra-base hit allowed, the longest such streak I could find using PI.

  4. 4
    Dcarson108 says:

    I went with Raines, Carter, Vladdy, and El Presidente. Carter is obvious. Raines, while having some good years with the Whitesox, was outstanding for the Expos. His what-should be hall of fame career saw its best years in Montreal. I went with Guerrero because he was an absolute beast in Montreal. Although it seems like he spent more than six seasons there, he is the first player that comes to my mind when I think of the Expos. Dennis Martinez had a great 8 seasons in Montreal and of course the perfect game helps. If Pedro had two or three more years in Montreal, I would have him there. I can also see good reason for Dawson and Rogers. But I have always found Dawson highly overrated and the fact that he wanted to put in the HOF as a Cub makes it an easy choice to leave him off.

  5. 6
    Steven says:

    Dawson, Raines, Carter, Wallach and Staub. Special portraits at the entrance for Coco Laboy, John Boccabella, Claude Raymond and Mack Jones.

  6. 7
    Steven says:

    Oops. One too many. Subtract Wallach.

  7. 8
    Dan says:

    Voted for Dawson,Carter,Rogers, and Raines.
    Some other earlier Expos considered—–Stoneman,Renko,Morton,Mike Marshall,Bob Bailey,Ron Fairly,Ron Hunt.

  8. 10
    DaveR says:

    I started following baseball in 1977, when the Expos had a pretty good outfield- Dawson, Ellis Valentine, and Warren Cromartie.
    My choices for Mt. Rushmore would be Dawson, Rogers, Raines, and Carter.
    No question.

  9. 11
    Jason Z says:

    Obvious, Dawson, Raines, Carter and Steve Rogers.

    Vlad just misses due to longevity.

  10. 12
    Phil says:

    Instead of a Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers Mount Rushmore, can you give the Pilots their own? And instead of a WAR chart, just round up all the best quotes from Ball Four?

    • 25
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      I love the Joe Morgan quote from “Ball Four” about the MFFB. I don’t think you could post it here verbatim, though.

      Also the Joe Schultz one about pounding the Bud.

  11. 17
    tag says:

    I’m for Dawson, Raines, Carter and Steve Rogers as well. I’d love to have bumped one of them for Coco Laboy, who represents the early Expos to me, even more than Staub, but he was just too bad of a ballplayer to even consider it. However, the way the ‘Spos’ public address announcer used to say his name was worth the price of admission, and it remains a fond memory of mine (along with their waaay cool tri-color lid) long after I’ve forgotten the particulars of any single pitching or batting performance put on by Dawson, Raines et al.

  12. 19
    Michael says:

    Strasburg will end up on their Rushmore eventually

    • 20
      Andy says:

      That’s what they said about Mark Prior. Strasburg has a long way to go yet, and needs to survive injury and free agency to make this team’s monument.

      • 22
        Michael says:

        To be fair, Strasburg is much more dominant than 2002-2003 Mark Prior. The injury looks behind him, and with the Nationals rising they look like they’ll field a competitive team and keep him.

  13. 21
    Tmckelv says:

    Here is the first team where we see that teams with more years are much more difficult to choose.

    Here is the list of truly deserving players:

    Carter, Raines, Dawson, Vlad, Zimmerman, Rogers, Presidente, Pedro.

    8 guys for just over 40 years (and that doesn’t even include favorites Staub, Cromartie and Valentine).

    I chose Carter, Vlad, Raines and Rogers – ultimately it was more ridiculous to leave off Raines than Dawson.

  14. 23
    Doug says:

    I thought Charlie Lea had a longer career than he did. I also missed hearing that he died last year.

  15. 26
    Avar says:

    This is tough. Carter is obvious, by any measure. I looked at Fangraphs’ WAR for Expos years only and that gave me Raines, Vlad and Zim all very close (about 5.15 WAR per year). But leaves out Dawson at 4.6 per year. But Dawson almost crippled himself playing on that turf and is a HOFer who played his heart out for the Expos.

    So, I have to go with Carter, Raines, Vlad and Dawson – today. But, I think Zim will knock Dawson off that list in a few more years especially as the heart and soul of the team since they came to DC.

    Rogers was tempting and deserves mention for a great career. But, he was a notch below those other five.

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