We are 3 days removed from the final 2010 Washington Nationals game of the season. The playoffs are starting up today and two franchises that used to call D.C. home are in. Here is why you should root against the Minnesota Twins (in D.C. 1901-1960) and the Texas Rangers (in D.C. 1961-1971). I’m also rooting against the Twins because they drew the New York Yankees, my AL team.
The end of September and early October is full of history for D.C. baseball, some good, some terrible. The most infamous is Bob Short abandoning Washington for Texas which kept the sports out the Nation’s Capital for 34 years. Steve Ray, a voice and name familiar to Nats fans recently posted the radio broadcast of the Senators final game (151 MB). Tony Roberts and Ron Menchine handle the duties. Roberts is probably best known for football coverage (especially Notre Dame), handles the first half of the game and plays it pretty straight. Menchine, who recently passed away, handles the latter part and spends much of it talking about what Washington had with the Senators and what they were losing. Bob Short was apparently listening via speaker phone in Minnesota and tried to get Menchine off the air, to no avail. I had always figured that Short was being relentlessly pummeled, but that was not hte case. Short just had very thin skin. Menchine was doing the broadcast with a heavy heart, but comes off as a pretty good play-by-play man. Some commercials were left in the broadcast which is also interesting. I think I heard Johnny Holliday in there.
By the way, at Baseball on the Barn, I got to know Steve a little and really enjoyed his company. He has been tweeting about D.C. baseball history for the last week @AMandFM and posting it to his Stinger Steve Ray Facebook page, go check them out.
Other historical events
October 10, 1924
Harris, Johnson Bring Nats Their First Title – The Post
JOHNSON IS HERO AS NATIONALS WIN DECISIVE GAME OF WORLD SEREIS, 4-3; CITY IN CARNIVAL, CELEBRATES VICTORY
In 2004, the Post put together a wonderful section chronicling the 1924 season, the only one that ended with a World Series championship.
October 26, 1960
Calvin Griffith moves the original Senators for Minnesota, D.C. gets expansion Senators. This book excerpt Steve grabbed has some details. I recall reading elsewhere that Los Angeles had the Senators locked up, but when Walter O’Malley expressed interest, they held out for the Dodgers.
September 30, 1971
The final Washington Senators game ever and the reaction in The Post:
Rowdy Fans Hand Senators Final Loss
SHIRLEY POVICH – The Senators’ Final Game
September 29, 2004
Baseball is Back! I was at the CityMuseum (since defunct) for the announcement that the Expos were on their way to D.C.
September 23, 2007
The Nats final game in RFK Stadium — I was there too.
Now that’s D.C. baseball history, not the stuff that happened in another country like others want us to believe.