Saturday, April 11, 2009

Washington Senators: Die Hard

Ah, baseball in DC. The Nationals open their beautiful stadium for the season on Monday. However, at 0-5, the Nats are the only team in the National League without a win, and look to be working on another hard-to-watch season. So, that makes this the perfect time to write about a team that isn't terrible, because they no longer exist: The Washington Senators.

Several incarnations of the Senators have come and gone in the last 130 years. Originally, the Senators (known alternately as the Nationals or Statesmen) were a National League team from 1891-1899, playing at Boundary Field. The Senators had an appropriately miserable winning percentage (the team to beat of the era: The Boston Beaneaters) and when the NL cut four teams at the end of 1899, the Senators were among those eliminated.

Two years later, the Senators were reborn, this time as one of the founding teams of the American League. The new Senators, however, were as bad as the previous incarnation. After going 38-113 in 1904, as will happen to terrible teams, the owners decided to change the name to the "Nationals." Local people and newspapers seem to have ignored this change, however, and continued to refer to the team as the Senators. Making it easier to ignore the name change, the team wore only a "W" on their jerseys throughout most of the following era. In the ensuing years, the Senators/Nationals continued to dominate the bottom of the standings (though in 1908 they managed to edge out both the Boston Doves and the Brooklyn Superbas). Somewhere along the line, the name was changed (officially) back to "Senators,"but it wouldn't matter, because in 1960 the team moved to Minneapolis and became the Minnesota Twins.

The very same season, the hard-to-kill Senators were re-reborn in Washington, with a new team, a new owner, and the same win-loss ratio. In 1962, they played moved into a brand-new ballpark, present-day RFK Stadium. However, the following ten seasons would produce only one winning record, and in 1972 the team again moved, this time to Texas where they became the present-day Texas Rangers.

A thirty-year drought of baseball in Washington ensued, which was happily ended by the relocation of the miserable Montreal Expos to Washington in 2005. This newest team, the Nationals, has continued Washington's hilarious baseball tradition.

All statistics from:


  1. "When it comes to the Nationals, all you can do is laugh. Otherwise you cry." -Ian, via gchat.

    At least I know that when the Cubs come to town, they're going to win.

  2. a local's input:
    RFK was the home of the Redskins, it was not opened as a "ballpark"...the Senators shared the stadium with them

    the only time washingtonians remember we have a baseball team is when there are more white ppl on the green line than normal lol