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The List: The Expos' Fading Legacy

When former Washington Nationals fan favorite Brad Wilkerson retired last week, it removed one more link from the chain that connects the Nationals to their Montreal past.

Wilkerson's retirement (and the continued holdout of free agent Pedro Martinez) leaves only 31 active big leaguers who appeared in a game in an Expos uniform, according to Stats LLC. (Most surprising: Ted Lilly. Who knew that he made nine appearances, including three starts, for the Expos in 1999?) As for Washington, since the release of Shawn Hill during spring training there is only one player remaining on the Nationals' roster who also played for the franchise in Montreal: first baseman Nick Johnson.

But there are still some ways in which the Expos live on. Here are the top five. If you think of others, feel free to add them in the comments section:

5. Jeffrey Loria. In Montreal, the former owner is regarded as a scoundrel who ran the Expos into the ground and barely mustered a fight against the threat of contraction. But in a 2001 deal brokered by Major League Baseball, Loria sold the Expos to the league and bought the Florida Marlins, which -- with the help of a front office and staff made up largely of former Expos personnel -- he helped turn into a perennial overachiever that won the World Series in 2003.

4. The Record Book. The Expos' historical records live on as part of the Nationals' official franchise history -- much to the chagrin of many Nationals fans, who view the old Senators as the true ancestors of the Washington franchise and who have lobbied to have those records installed as the Nationals' official ones.

3. Gary Carter. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, "The Kid" remains the only player whose official Cooperstown plaque sports an Expos cap -- although that could change if either Andre Dawson or Tim Raines get in.

2. Omar Minaya. Talk about a legacy. Nationals fans curse Minaya's name every time Jason Bay bashes another homer, Cliff Lee wins another game or Grady Sizemore has another 3-for-5 game. All were former Expos farmhands traded during Minaya's tenure as GM, back when the franchise was facing the specter of contraction. Now the GM of the Mets, he undoubtedly is thankful those players no longer reside in his own division.

1. Youppi. The Expos' beloved former mascot, he was banished to mascot purgatory when the Nationals regrettably decided to go in another direction -- with the abomination known as Screech. Thankfully, the Montreal Canadiens stepped in and purchased the rights to Youppi, who lives on as the mascot of the venerable NHL franchise.

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 29, 2009; 9:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'll always have fond (?) memories of Olympic Stadium, with it's non-retractable retractable roof and unexpected concrete showers. That junky stadium makes RFK seem luxurious!

Posted by: yobigc | April 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The Expos still live on the MLB network. I was astonished to see them broadcast an Expos-Pirates game from September 1970 in its entirety this weekend, as part of their "All-Time Games" series. Played at Jarry Park, I think.

Posted by: joebleux | April 29, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I prefer Youppi to Screech. Especially his current incarnation.

Also, for the record, I have no problem whatsoever with maintaining a link to the Expos history. Someone needs to remember what baseball did to that franchise and its fans. Never again.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 29, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

By the way, that Youppi website is awesome.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 29, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

What, no love for the '94 Montreal squad? They were leading the NL east and looking like the best team in the NL before the strike. They had some great players on that team:
Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, and many others.
Stupid strike.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | April 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The Expos will live on in the Nats' attendance numbers this year as well as sharing a traditional bottom slot in the NL East.

Posted by: UrbanShocker | April 29, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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