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
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
Toby Harrah, the last active player who had worn a Senators' uniform, wasn't really ready to be a regular major league shortstop in 1971, but with Ed Brinkman traded to Detroit, the job became his. Not surprisingly, he was overmatched, but then so was the entire team after Bob Short was done making dreadful deals … Continue reading Toby Harrah, the last man standing
On May 23, 1960, the Yankees released 39-year-old Elmer Valo, a 20-year major league veteran who had been carving a niche as pinch-hitter and part-time outfielder in the late 1950s. He was signed the next day by the Washington Senators, who immediately anointed the left-hand hitter as the team’s go-to bat off the bench. Valo … Continue reading Elmer Valo, Senators record-setting pinch-hitter
Mickey Mantle’s mammoth home run off the Senators' Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium on April 17, 1953, is one of the most famous tape-measure blasts of all time. In fact, most sources credit this homer with creating the “tape-measure’’ phrase, although obviously no tape measure was used to calculate the distance. (Mantle was later photographed … Continue reading Fact and fiction about Mantle’s “565-foot” homer
Nick Johnson, who came to Washington with Expos in 2005, was an on-base machine. In his four seasons with the Nats, his on-base percentage was .418, which remains the Nationals' record (Bryce Harper's, in comparison, stood at .384 at the end of the 2017 season.) Johnson would have ended his career with an OBP of … Continue reading Nick Johnson, Sabermetric star
On April 17, 1953, Mickey Mantle hit a home run off Washington lefty Chuck Stobbs that cleared the left-field stands in Griffith Stadium. The blast gave rise to the term "tape-measure homer," largely because Mantle and Yankees publicist Red Patterson later posed for a photo with a prop designed to look like a tape measure. … Continue reading Mickey Mantle and D.C.