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Artificial tradition

Posted at 10:53 AM on May 24, 2005 by David Zingler

Has anyone else out there noticed the patch on the Washington National’s home jersey that reads “Established 1905”?

Funny, because this very same team was known as the Montreal Expos just last season. The Expos began play as an expansion team in 1969. The original team in Washington, the Senators, was formed in 1901. Of course, they moved to Minnesota and began play as the Twins in 1961. The Twins still recognize Washington statistics in their media guide. For instance, Walter Johnson is listed as the franchises’ all time leader in victories with 417 (good luck chasing that one Johan).

Where then does this 1905 nonsense come from? Leave it to baseball-reference.com to clear up the mystery. According to their Minnesota Twins Team Index page, “The Senators were officially the Washington Nationals from 1905-1955, but the fans never recognized them as such” -- at least until now.

Apparently MLB is so ashamed of the Expos that they are telling us that big league baseball never existed in Montreal and that, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, there has been a team widely known as the “Nationals” playing baseball in our nation’s capital for the past 100 years.

Maybe the Cubs should take note and put a “2003 World Series Champions” patch on their jerseys. I’m sure Steve Bartman wouldn’t mind.

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