After a long and grueling baseball season, it all comes down to the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers in this year’s installment of the World Series. The Giants have not won a title since moving to the Bay Area and the Rangers won their first post-season series in franchise history earlier this month.
This leaves the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners as the only teams still searching for their first World Series appearance. The 1994 strike prevented what could have been a championship season for Montreal, as the Expos were widely considered the best team in baseball, but unfortunately we will never know.
That got us thinking, how many Expos/Nationals connections are there in this years Fall Classic. Some of the names may surprise you.
Vladimir Guerrero: Montreal Expos (1996-2003)
Career: 2,427 hits, 436 home runs, 1,433 RBI, .320 BA
Analysis: This was an easy one. Guerrero was signed by the Expos as an amateur free agent in 1993 and is widely considered to be one of the best players in franchise history. However, Vlad left Montreal in 2003 and brought his talents to south Los Angeles, signing a 5-year, $70 million deal with the Angels where he one his first and only MVP in his first season with Anaheim. Guerrero joined Texas this past winter and is making his World Series debut.
Cliff Lee: Montreal Expos (2000-2002)
Career: 102-61 W-L, 3.85 ERA, 1,085 strikeouts
Analysis: For those who don’t remember, Cliff Lee was involved in the now infamous Bartolo Colon deal where Montreal sent Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Colon and Tim Drew. Lee had some respectable years with Cleveland early on but really made a name for himself in 2008, establishing himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today. Following stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners, Lee was traded to the Rangers in July and will be making his second consecutive World Series appearance, after representing the Phillies last year.
Colby Lewis: Washington Nationals (2006-2007)
Career: 24-28 W-L, 5.27 ERA, 351 strikeouts
Analysis: The winner of the deciding Game 6 of the ALCS had a brief stint with the Nats. As a matter of fact, it was so brief he never even appeared in a game for Washington. In November of 2006, the Nationals signed Lewis to a minor league contract only to release him during spring training of the following year, where he was signed by the Oakland Athletics a week later. After a stint with the Kansas City Royals and a two-year stay in Japan, Lewis signed with the Rangers prior to this season and was a pleasant surprise for Texas by starting 32 games.
Guillermo Mota: Montreal Expos (1999-2001)
Career: 37-42 W-L, 3.92 ERA, 595 strikeouts
Analysis: Which teams has Mota not played for? Selected by the Expos in the 1996 Rule V draft, Montreal converted him from infielder to pitcher and hit a three-run home run off Mark Guthrie in his first career at bat. This Mota’s first year in San Francisco and played key roles with the New York Mets in 2006 and Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 in their playoff runs.