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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Washington Nationals: Since 1969?

By Dan Steinberg

As was obvious when the Nationals released the names on their Ring of Honor, there is some ambiguity about what history exactly this franchise represents. Is it Washington baseball from 1901, or from 1905, when the team first became the Nationals? Is it Montreal Expos franchise history since 1969? Is it Washington Nationals baseball since 2005? Or all three?

The confusion even extends to merchandising, as Reader Noah recent realized. He was familiar with the "Est. 1905" version of Nats history, as seen on the shirt below. But during a recent trip to the Nats team store, he saw New Era caps dating the franchise to 1969, when the Expos were founded.

"If you recall, the Nats used to have "Founded 1905" on a bunch of their team stuff, but now I see they are going with 1969 as the founded date, as evidenced by (at least) the two hats I saw," Noah wrote. Later, we turned up a shirt with the same date.

So what's the deal? Apparently, Major League Baseball has approved multiple origination dates for the franchise that can be used for marketing purposes. The manufacturers can then use whichever date they choose, leading to a team store that could theoretically contradict itself. This might seem confusing, but it does make this team uniquely ours, right? I mean, the Nats are large. They contain multitudes.

By Dan Steinberg  | January 12, 2011; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Without a doubt the last picture is the worst Nats hat I've ever seen. The $5 knockoffs the street vendors sell outside the stadium are better.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 12, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

People actually support the Natinals?

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 12, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I dont agree with the 1905 because that was a different franchise using the Nationals name in the same city. 2005 would only make sense if the franchise wanted to give up its franchise history, records, and trademark of the Expos, similar to what the Baltimore Ravens did when they relinquished the Browns history/trademark. The proper franchise birth date should be 1969, and this should be acknowledged for franchise records in the media guide, ballpark, ect.

Posted by: MrWillie | January 12, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It's very simple. 1905 = 1969 in Canadian years.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 12, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"People actually support the Natinals?"

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 12, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse


here we go. Just tell everyone your team so we can insult you. Their is one for every team. I really hope its the O's, whose attendance was worse then the Nats

Posted by: JDB1 | January 12, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I wouldn't wear any hat that has anything but an official logo on it, and would avoid shirts with the "Established xxxx" on it. Talking about any date before 1971 only reminds us of baseball being taken from the city. The only date with any meaning on it is 2005, but even putting 2005 on there is a reminder of how many years the team has gone without a winning record.


Posted by: kevincostello | January 13, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

DixonTheDog, we're waiting to hear your comment about the San Francicso Giants. Yes, that's "San Francicso":

Funny how whiners like you think that one incident in DC baseball history tars the franchise forever. If you hate the team so much, why read about them?

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 13, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Dixon Dog.. You are a tool. I don't think a joke could possibly get more played out.

Posted by: dannychap | January 13, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Just from the first two shirts you can see the subtle distinction:

"Washington Baseball" - established in 1905. The Senators started in DC in 1901, but 1905 was the first 7-game World Series (perhaps that is the reason for that year?).

Nationals Baseball "Club" - established 1969 via the Montreal Expos. This "club" started in 1969.

Posted by: ScottMCollins | January 13, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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