Over the next month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Montreal Expos players from least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other team series articles here.
The Montreal Expos have a history rich in great players, most of whom ended up playing for other teams later in their careers. In some cases, it was by trade or free agency, in others, it was because the Expos moved and received a new name and identity. The team was founded as the Montreal Expos in 1969, but the team was bought by Major League Baseball in 2002, was renamed the Nationals and moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005.
Top Five Montreal Expos Players
5. Pedro Martinez
There’s a good chance Pedro Martinez finds himself on the top five list for the Red Sox as well, but his genius as a pitcher puts him on this list despite playing for the Expos only four years. In his final year with the team, Martinez won his first of three Cy Young Awards. During that season, Martinez was absolutely nasty. He posted a 17-8 record, but just a 1.90 ERA, with four shutouts and 13 complete games. He also led the league with a 0.932 WHIP and averaged more than eleven strikeouts per nine innings. He would win two more Cy Young Awards in the next three years, but Montreal is where Pedro showed his rookie year (with the Dodgers) was no fluke.
4. Tim Raines
Tim Raines was a threat to get base hits and then extend them by one (or two) bases. Aside from Rickey Henderson, Raines was the modern day speedster. He stole 808 bases in his career, which included 13 seasons in Montreal. Raines led the league in steals four times, had six consecutive seasons of at least 70 stolen bases (including 90 in 1983), and swiped at least 40 five other times during his entire career. He was a career .300 hitter who had more walks (1,330) than strikeouts (966), which made him one of the best leadoff hitters in history. The only question about Raines is why it took Hall Of Fame voters ten years to vote him in.
3. Vladimir Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero could hit almost anything, and that’s because he tried to hit EVERYTHING. What might make an ordinary hitter struggle for hits, his ability to reach outside the strike zone, made him more of a threat. In eight years with Montreal, he hit .323 with 224 (of his career 449) homers and stole 123 of his 181 career bases. Playing for Montreal, Guerrero made four (out of nine) All-Star teams, and received MVP votes six times. He should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer but made it in his second year of eligibility.
2. Gary Carter
Gary Carter makes this list because his personality made him the face of the Expos for 12 years. Oh, and he was a hell of a ballplayer, too! Carter was a tough out at the plate and the anchor of a pitching staff as a perennial All-Star catcher. Carter did not hit for average (career .262 hitter) but could hit for power and did not strike out a lot. In his 12 seasons with Montreal, Carter hit 220 of his career 324 homers and walked 582 times, while only striking out 691 times. As a catcher, he was a complete backstop. He had a .991 fielding percentage. For his career, Carter made eleven All-Star teams, received MVP votes seven times and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 with 78% of the vote.
1. Andre Dawson
Andre the “Hawk” Dawson was a threat to get base bits, hit homers, and steal bases (until his knees started to fail him). Dawson had more than a lightning rod for a bat, he a cannon for an arm. He finished his career with 157 outfield assists, including two seasons with 17. In eleven seasons with Montreal, Dawson made four All-Star teams, was Rookie of the Year in 1977 and was the runner-up MVP twice (he finally won in 1987 with the Cubs). During his time with the Expos, Dawson also averaged 20-plus steals and homers a year. He (finally) made the Hall of Fame in 2010 in his ninth year of eligibility.
It was difficult to choose the best five players for the Expos because many of the players moved on from Montreal to continue to have amazing careers with other teams. The team certainly produced some of baseball’s most outgoing personalities who many fans forgot played north of the border. The top five Expos can serve as a reminder to older fans about the days when players needed all of the tools to succeed.
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