Washington Baseball Timeline



Sept. 29, 2004: Baseball finally returns to the nation's capital for the first time in 33 years, as Major League Baseball selects the Washington, D.C. proposal as its choice for relocation of the Montreal Expos. Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig makes the announcement. Relocation of the club is subject to certain contingencies, including a formal vote of ownership at the next owners' meeting in Nov. and passage of legislation by the D.C. Council to provide for financing and construction of a ballpark on the Anacostia River waterfront in Southeast Washington. MLB also provides the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida the required notice of MLB's intent to move forward with relocating the team. The D.C. agreement also includes financing for the refurbishing of RFK Stadium, where the Washington, D.C. franchise would play through the 2007 season.

Nov. 22, 2004: At a ceremony held at historic Main Hall at Union Station, team President Tony Tavares announces the new Washington MLB franchise will be named the Washington Nationals, and that the team colors will be red, white & blue.

Dec. 29, 2004: Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams signs into law a financing package for a new baseball stadium along the Anacostia waterfront in Southeast D.C., calling it "one of my proudest days as mayor."


Feb. 2, 2005: Nationals home & road jerseys officially worn for first time during a Meet & Greet Party at ESPN Zone in downtown D.C. GM Jim Bowden, Jose Guillen, Cristian Guzman, Zach Day and Chad Cordero attended.

Feb. 14, 2005: Pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Fla. for the Nationals' first Spring Training.

March 2, 2005: The Nationals play their first Spring Training game against the New York Mets and is televised by ESPN.

April 4, 2005: Washington Nationals open their inaugural season at Philadelphia, just 132 miles north of RFK Stadium, with an 8-4 setback. Terrmel Sledge hits the first homer in the history of the Nationals in the sixth inning.

April 6, 2005: Brad Wilkerson hits his second-career cycle and the Nationals collect their first win, 7-3, at Philadelphia

April 14, 2005: Major League Baseball returns to D.C. as the Nationals defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-3, as Vinny Castilla delights a capacity crowd of 45,596 by tallying a double, triple and homer. President George W. Bush met the Nationals and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

June 7, 2005: With the No. 4 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, the Nationals select University of Virginia infielder Ryan Zimmerman as the first draft choice in team history.

July 3, 2005: The Nationals down the Cubs, 5-4, in 12 inn. to go a season-high 19 games above .500 at 50-31. The club's offense flounders in the second half, and Washington caps its return to MLB with an 81-81 mark by season's end.


Feb. 7, 2006: After midnight, the D.C. Council approves a ballpark lease after voting down the measure earlier in the evening.

March 14, 2006: Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission and the Washington Nationals unveil plans for a 41,000-seat state-of-the-art baseball stadium located in Southeast D.C.

May 4, 2006: Ground is officially broken on the Nationals' new ballpark in Southeast D.C.

July 24, 2006: MLB and the Nationals announce the official transfer of ownership from Major League Baseball to an ownership group headed by Washington developer Theodore N. Lerner, his son Mark D. Lerner, sons-in-law Edward L. Cohen and Robert K. Tanenbaum, and their families.

Sept. 16, 2006: Alfonso Soriano becomes the fourth member of the 40/40 club when he steals his 40th base of the season. He goes on to hit 46 homers and collect 41 stolen bases on the year.

Nov. 14, 2006: Manny Acta is named manager of the Nationals, becoming just the second skipper in the brief history of the club. Acta becomes the youngest active manager in MLB at the age of 37.


Sept. 23, 2007: The Nationals play their final game at RFK Stadium, the 1,047th in the history of the facility. The Nationals' 5-3 win over Philadelphia gives Washington a winning record (122-121) during its three-year stay at RFK.


March 30, 2008: The Nationals host Atlanta in the inaugural regular-season contest at Nationals Park. The Nationals top the Braves, 3-2, on Ryan Zimmerman's game-ending solo shot in the ninth inning. The game is televised worldwide on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.


July 27, 2009: Josh Willingham hits two grand slams in game at Milwaukee, becoming the 13th player in history to do so.

Aug. 17, 2009: The Nationals agree to terms with Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft (June 9).

Aug. 20, 2009: Mike Rizzo is named the Nationals' Senior Vice President & General Manager. Rizzo had filled the position with an "interim" tag since March 1, when former GM Jim Bowden stepped down from his post.

Nov. 12, 2009: Jim Riggleman is named the third full-time manager of the Nationals. Riggleman skippered the club as "interim manager" for the second half of the 2009 season, after Manny Acta was relieved of his duties on July 13.