Washington Nationals: Since 1969?
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.
| January 12, 2011; 12:40 PM ET
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