In the short history of the Washington Nationals, the club has grown from National League East basement dwellers to one of the most successful teams of the decade. Its team history is too brief, however, to allow enough time for a player impactful enough to have come and gone and
In the short history of the Washington Nationals, the club has grown from National League East basement dwellers to one of the most successful teams of the decade. Its team history is too brief, however, to allow enough time for a player impactful enough to have come and gone and had their number retired.
The history of the franchise dates back to 1969, when the expansion Montreal Expos were founded. Before moving to Washington, D.C., before the 2005 season, Montreal retired three numbers to honor four players, encompassing homegrown talents that blossomed into superstars and the franchise's first marquee star, who was acquired in a trade.
Although each of these numbers remain in circulation with the Nationals, here is a look at the numbers retired by the Expos:
Gary Carter, C: No. 8
Number retired: July 31, 1993
In 1972, the Expos drafted Carter in the third round, and he spent the first 11 years of his Major League career in Montreal. He was a part of one of the team's most successful runs, earning seven All-Star Game appearances and leading the Expos to the postseason in 1981, although they fell to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.
Carter returned to Montreal in 1992 to play the final season of his career. He earned the Expos' Player of the Year Award four times: in 1975, '77, '80 and '84. Upon Carter's induction to Cooperstown in 2003, he joked he wanted his cap to be half-Expos, half-Mets, but ultimately he became the first player enshrined wearing an Expos cap.
Rusty Staub, RF: No. 10
Number retired: May 15, 1993
Staub only played in parts of four seasons with Montreal, but he was popular enough for his number 10 to become the first number retired by the club. He was acquired from the Astros before the start of the 1969 season and became the expansion team's first star. Staub won the first Expos' Player of the Year Award and made the All-Star team every year during his initial three-year run in Montreal, from 1969-71.
Staub returned for a 38-game stint in 1979. His career .402 on-base percentage as an Expo is the club record among players with at least 2,000 plate appearances.
Andre Dawson, OF: No. 10
Number retired: July 6, 1997
The man nicknamed "The Hawk" started his career in Montreal, an 11th-round Draft pick who would go on to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1977. Dawson played 11 seasons with the Expos and retired as the franchise leader in a plethora of offensive categories, including games, at-bats, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, homers, RBIs, total bases and steals, although each of those records has since been broken.
Dawson won the team's Player of the Year Award twice (1981 and '83) and he was also an excellent defender, winning six of his eight career Gold Glove Awards with the Expos. The club retired the No. 10 in 1993 in honor of Staub while Dawson was still active, but Montreal would give him the honor as well four years later. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 with an Expos cap.
Tim Raines, LF: No. 30
Number retired: June 19, 2004
One of the best leadoff hitters and baserunners in MLB history, Raines was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 on his 10th time on the ballot. All seven of his All-Star Game appearances were with the Expos; he also won the batting title in 1986. Raines was a three-time Expos' Player of the Year, capturing the award in 1983, '85 and '86.
The Expos drafted Raines in 1977 and he played for 13 seasons with Montreal, retiring as the franchise leader in runs, singles, triples, walks and stolen bases.
Note: On April 15, 1997, the Expos joined every team in MLB in retiring No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.