2008: Zimmerman’s walk-off homer opens Nationals Park

With Washington’s new ballpark due to open, Nationals’ management lobbied Major League Baseball to let the team to start the National League season on ESPN’s Sunday night game, March 30, 2008.[1] Despite the Nats’ dim prospects, MLB granted the request, putting Washington in the national spotlight for an opener for the first time since the … Continue reading 2008: Zimmerman’s walk-off homer opens Nationals Park

Ed Brinkman, unsung glove record-setter

A Gold Glove shortstop but perennial weak hitter, Edwin Albert Brinkman played 15 seasons in the majors, the first 10 of them with the expansion Washington Senators. Traded to Detroit in October 1970 in the infamous Denny McLain deal, he led the Tigers to a division title and was voted Tiger of the Year in … Continue reading Ed Brinkman, unsung glove record-setter

2007: Levale Speigner (who?) beats two-time Cy Young winner

The 2007 Washington Nationals were plodding along a dozen games under .500 when the team arrived in Minnesota late on June 7 for a weekend series. The Twins were playing .500 ball, clearly a disappointment a year after they had won the division behind Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau, batting champ Joe Mauer and Cy … Continue reading 2007: Levale Speigner (who?) beats two-time Cy Young winner

The ‘Little Big League’ movie’s ties to the Senators

The film "Little Big League" from 1994, directed by Andrew Scheinman, has a definite Washington connection. The premise of the movie is that a 12-year-old, played by Luke Edwards,  inherits the Minnesota Twins from his long-time owner/grandfather (modeled on Calvin Griffith and played by Jason Robards). The grandfather tells of how as a youngster he saw … Continue reading The ‘Little Big League’ movie’s ties to the Senators

Ownership of the expansion Senators

The franchise that became known as the expansion Senators had an 11-year run in the Nation’s Capital from 1961 through 1971 before moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to become the Texas Rangers. The expansion team, created as soon as the original Senators departed for Minnesota, essentially had three sets of owners. The last acted … Continue reading Ownership of the expansion Senators

“Oil” Smith and the 1925 World Series

Catcher Earl "Oil" Smith played on five World Series teams in his 12-year career, spanning the 1920s. You could argue that he cost the Senators a second world championship in 1925, when Washington became the first team to blow a three-games-to-one lead that year in losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Smith, renowned as a bench … Continue reading “Oil” Smith and the 1925 World Series

Earl McNeely, World Series hero

A 26-year-old rookie who came up in August, George Earl McNeely drove in the winning run in the 12th inning of the seventh game in the 1924 World Series, Washington’s only championship. Before his playing days ended, McNeely, known by his middle name, managed  – and owned  – a Pacific Coast League team. McNeely was … Continue reading Earl McNeely, World Series hero