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 the 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 … 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.
When Babe Ruth set a major league record with 29 home runs in 1919, his total topped what was generally recognized as the previous mark: the 25 home runs hit by baseball’s first real power hitter: Buck Freeman of the Washington Senators. Freeman hit his 25 round-trippers, playing for the 11th-place team in the 1899 … Continue reading Buck Freeman, first true power hitter
George Selkirk became the expansion Senators second general manager on Nov. 21, 1962. He succeeded Ed Doherty, who had been fired at the end of the 1962 season by then Senators majority owner Elwood R. “Pete” Quesada. As a player, Selkirk, nicknamed “Twinkletoes” because of his running style, had replaced Babe Ruth as the Yankees … Continue reading George Selkirk molded the expansion Nats
These are books I'd recommend about the history of baseball in Washington: “The Washington Senators,’’ by Morris A. Bealle (1947, Columbia Publishing Company), long out of print, subtitled “An 87-year History of the World’s Oldest Baseball Club and Most Incurable Fandom’’ “The Washington Senators,’’ by Shirley Povich (1954, G.P. Putnam & Sons), subtitled "An informal … Continue reading Books About Washington Baseball