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Nats finally embrace Expos history by honoring Dawson

Washington NationalsThe Washington Nationals haven’t done a whole lot to acknowledge their roots as the Montreal Expos, preferring to stress the history of baseball in the District. But with events slated to honor former Expo Andre Dawson, that’s changing.

A glimpse at the Washington Nationals media guide shows a lot of information on Washington baseball, with the Nationals basically claiming all records of the two versions of the Washington Senators/Nationals to precede them. (So do the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers.)

It’s not a bad way to approach the issue, but it does leave the many great players associated with the Montreal Expos out in the cold. The Expos ended up a poor orphan, but folks should remember what a powerhouse franchise the Expos were for many years, with the likes of Dawson and Tim Raines leading the way. Olympic Stadium rocked in those days.

On Tuesday the Nats will address this by honoring The Hawk before the game. It should be a big crowd — Stephen Strasburg is slated to pitch after coming off the injured list — and the team will also honor Gary Carter, the first player entering the Hall of Fame as an Expo. For the Nats, strictly speaking, Dawson and Carter are the only players in franchise history to enter the Hall of Fame; they can claim Walter Johnson and Heinie Manush all they want, but at the end of the day those players belong to the legacy of the Twins.

Still, the decision to honor Dawson and Carter is a classy one on the part of the Nationals, despite some squawking from DC baseball “purists” who would rather see the team ignore the Expos history. Ignoring that history is really a slap in the face to many great players, though.

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