After five-and-a-half seasons of ignoring their past incarnations in a feeble attempt to make history of their own, the last place Washington Nationals will tonight unveil a Magical Ring of Honor at Nationals Park listing the Hall of Fame players who have been somehow connected to the team. Since the Nats were born out of the forced relocation of the Montreal Expos, both of the franchise's HOFers, Gary Carter and the recently-inducted Andre Dawson, now have their names emblazoned on the 100-level facade.
They're joined by former players of both iterations the Washington Senators, the Negro League's Homestead Grays, and the Minnesota Twins. Because I'll be dead in my grave before I ever recognize Harmon Killebrew as anything but a Twin. Heck, he only played two full seasons in Warshington anyway.
But! After I've spent a few years complaining that the Nats have been sweeping away any reference to their past, I shouldn't really be too upset that they are going way overboard on this. Eighteen names with room for eight more! Someday you'll see current Nats catcher Ivan Rodriguez' name up there, I guarantee it.
My question: what about the Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams? Williams, who compiled a 219-264 record in three years managing in Washington in the late 1960s, will not be honored in Nationals Park. Why, I ask? After all, his 86-76 record in 1969 won him the Manager of the Year award. Is it not significant that the greatest hitter in the history of baseball once did so poorly as a manager that the team had to be relocated to Texas (where Williams led the team to a 54-100 record before getting canned)? So what if he's not in Cooperstown for his managerial aplomb: think of all the Red Sox fans the team could lure with the promise of their favorite legend's name hanging over a chili dog vendor!