1899: After eight years in which the franchise never finished .500, or better, the Washington Senators of the National League are one of four teams eliminated in 1899 as the NL reduced from 12 teams to eight teams.
1901: With the National League reducing itself, Ban Johnson, who ran the Western League, a minor league in the mid-west, decides to become start a new Major League to compete with NL. Johnson’s new league called the American League would have eight teams, including three teams in cities that lost franchise after the 1899 season, including Washington. In the franchise’s first season, Washington would finish 61-72 and in sixth place in AL. One of the low points of the inaugural season comes on May 23rd when the Senators had a nine-run lead in the ninth inning with two outs and nobody on base for the Cleveland Blues. However, the Blues stage a fantastic comeback and take the game 14-13.
1902: Washington would continue to struggle as they finish in sixth place again with a record of 61-75.
1903: Tragedy struck Washington on July 2nd when their star hitter Ed Delahanty died in a fall from a train near Niagara Falls. Delahanty, who was in his second season with Washington, was hitting .333 a season after batting .376 in 1902. With the loss of Delahanty, they would go on to finish in the basement if the American League with an awful 43-94 record, while the cause of his fall would never be determined.
1904: Washington stumbles out of the gates and never recover, losing 13 straight to start the season, and end up finishing the season with a franchise worse 38-113 last-place record.
1905: The Nationals come out with new uniforms with their team name written across the chest for everyone to see. The Nats would only wear the uniform for two seasons, while the name Nationals has trouble catching on and after the team gets rid of it. Ironically the Nats/Senators would go 52 years before Senators would appear on the uniform long after it had become standard practice. The Nats’ struggles would continue finishing in seventh place with a 64-87 record.
1906: The Nationals continue to be awful, finishing in seventh place with a terrible record of 55-95.
1907: Walter Johnson makes his debut for the Nationals after pitching on a Minor League team in Idaho. Although not knowing it buy his delivery, Johnson would go on to confound batters for the next 21 years and established himself as one of the greatest pitches of all time.
1908: On August 21st Nationals catcher Gabby Street participates in a curious publicity stunt when he catches a ball thrown off the top of the Washington Monument. Meanwhile, the Nats losing ways continued with a seventh Place 67-85 finish.
1909: On July 16th, The Nationals and the Detroit Tigers played to a 0-0 tie over 18 innings. That game still stands as the longest scoreless game in American League history. Lack of scoring becomes the symbol of the Nats that season as the team goes on to lose 110 games. Pitcher Robert Groom loses a single-season record 19 straight games and finishes with a 7-26 record despite a 2.87 ERA. Walter Johnson is not even immune to the lack of run support as he finishes with a woeful 13-25 record despite an impressive 2.21 ERA. The Nats would go on to finish in dead last with a pathetic 42-110 record.
1910: On April 10th, President William H. Taft became the first President of the United States to throw out the first ball of the major league season. The game turns out to be a classic as he witnesses a one-hit Walter Johnson performance in a Nationals 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics. Johnson would go on to have a 25-17 record with a dominant 1.35 EA. Despite the return of Johnson, the Nats can only finish in seventh place with a woeful 66-85 record.
1911: The Nationals continue to be one of the worst teams in baseball as they finish in seventh place with an awful record of 64-90.
1912: Led by a 32-12 record from Walter Johnson, who also had a league-low ERA of 1.39, the Nationals record their first winning season in their 12-year history, as they finish in a distant second place with a 91-61 record.
1913: The Big Train known as Walter Johnson, continues to dominate the American League as he puts together one of the most dominant seasons in baseball history. Johnson finishes with a 36-7 record and produces a microscopic 1.09 ERA. Johnson also leads the way in strikeouts, while pitching 11 shut outs. The Nationals do manage to stay in the race for a while, too, but their 90-64 record is only enough for second place behind the Philadelphia Athletics.
1914: The Nationals post their third consecutive winning season finishing in third place with a record of 81-73.
1914:The Nationals continue to post solid record, but are once again a non-factor in the race for the pennant as they finish in fourth place with an 85-69 record.
1916: Despite 16 straight road wins and another dominant 25 win season by Walter Johnson, the Nats struggle again and finish in seventh place with a disappointing 76-77 record.
1917: The Nationals struggle with mediocrity again as they finish in fifth place with a 75-79 record.
1918: With Walter Johnson winning 23 games, the Nationals are in the Pennant Race all season but fall four games short with a third Place 72-56 record, as the season is cut short to aid the war effort.
1919: The Nationals suffer a setback falling into seventh place with an awful record of 56-84.
1920: Clark Griffith becomes a club owner and President when he joins Philadelphia grain broker William Richardson in buying a controlling interest in the Washington Nationals for $175,000. Griffith, unable to get financial help from the American League, mortgages his Montana ranch to raise funds. Meanwhile, the Nats wilt on the field again, finishing in seventh place with a mediocre 68-84 record.
1921: The Nationals rebound off two straight losing seasons to finish in fourth place with a record of 80-73.
1922: The Nationals suffer a setback falling into sixth place with a disappointing record of 69-85.
1923: The Nats continue to play mediocre baseball, finishing in fourth place with a 75-78 record.
1924: On Opening Day, President Calvin Coolidge throws out the season’s first pitch, and the Nationals go on to win. This was the usual order of things Johnson wins, but the club goes nowhere. Throughout his first 17 seasons, Johnson was the premier pitcher in all of baseball routinely winning more than 20 games and leading the league in strikeouts and ERA. In this period, the Nats only managed to win 90 twice and finished within ten games of the pennant twice. After another sub-.500 season in 1923, no one expected anything different. However, with 2B Bucky Harris taking over as the fourth new manager in four years, there would be magic in the air over the Capital. In September, the Nats were still in the race, but most expected the New York Yankees to pass them up. However, there was something special about this Nats team that was led by Walter Johnson, who won the pitchers’ triple crown again. With a big series against the Yankees, the Nationals shocked all of baseball by sweeping the defending Champions to win their first American League Pennant by two games with a 92-62 record.
1924 World Series: For the first time in their history, the Washington Nationals had made it to the World Series. Their opponent was the New York Giants, who were making it to the Fall Classic for the fourth year in a row. Game 1 would not be decided until the 12th Inning when Ross Youngs delivered a single off Walter Johnson to give the Giants the opener. The Nats would bounce back to win Game 2 dramatically on Roger Peckinpaugh’s game-winning double in the ninth. The Nats would fall again in Game 3, as Bucky Harris’ error played a crucial part in a Giants rally. The Nats would bounce back to tie the series at two games apiece in Game 4 thanks to Goose Goslin’s four-hit game that was highlighted by a three-run homer. The Nats would lose Game 5 as Walter Johnson was hit hard. After the game, Johnson apologized publicly for his second Series loss. The loss put the Nats on the brink down three games to two. With the series returning to Washington, the Nats were on the verge of elimination. Nobody gave them a chance since it looked as if Walter Johnson would not pitch again after being ineffective in three World Series appearances. The sixth game would see a duel between leftie Tom Zachary and Art Nehrf. The Nats Zachary would get the upper hand when Bucky Harris knocked in two runs in the fifth inning with a single. Those runs would stand as the Nats forced a seventh game with 2-1 victory. In Game 7, the Nats saw an early lead evaporate as the Giants took a 3-1 lead into the eighth. However, magic was still hanging over the skies of Washington. The Nats would score two runs to tie the game at three. The Giants looked on the verge of grabbing the lead back right away as they loaded the bases with nobody out. The Nats were desperate to hold on called on Walter Johnson to keep the game tied. Looking to atone for his poor performance in Game 5, Walter Johnson would not allow a run to score. The game would move into extra innings, and Johnson was determined to finish the deal, and he held the Giants off the board through the 12th inning. In the bottom of the 12th Nats catcher, Muddy Ruel would get a one-out single he was followed by a single from Walter Johnson. This setup runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Earl McNeely stepped up in the plate and hit a slow roller down the third baseline. As the Giants, Fred Lindstrom bent down to pick the ball up that magic struck one last time. The ball hit a pebble and rolled away, and Muddy Ruel lumbered home with a series-winning run. The Nationals were World Champions for the first and only time. Even Walter Johnson could not contain himself, as he was teary-eyed in the on-field celebration that ensued. The following day the Nats were greeted with a hero’s parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where they were greeted by the same President Coolidge that threw out the first pitch of the magical season.
1925: With the New York Yankees floundering all season long, thanks to injuries and suspensions of Babe Ruth, the Nationals have no real challenge and win their second straight pennant fairly easily with a 96-65 record. In the Fall Classic standing between the Nats and a second consecutive World Championship where the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Walter Johnson winning twice while shutting down the Pirates offense to just one run in two games, as the Nats take a 3-game-to-1 lead. However, the magic that was on the Nationals side vanishes as the Pirates claw back to take the next two games to force a seventh and deciding game in Pittsburgh. In Game 7, a tired Walter Johnson was battered for 9-runs-on-15 hits, as the Nats became the first team ever to blow a 3-1 series lead in a seven-game series.
1926: After winning two straight American League Pennants, the Nats fall to fourth place with an 81-69 record while finishing only eight games away from a third consecutive trip to the World Series.
1927: After his 21st season, Walter Johnson, perhaps baseball’s greatest pitcher ever retires. Despite playing much of his career on mediocre Washington teams, Johnson manages to win 416 games in his career good enough for 2nd al-time. He also closes his career with a 2.17 career ERA good enough for seventh on the all-time list. Perhaps most impressively, Johnson would end his career with 3,508 strikeouts, which stood as the record for nearly 60 years. In addition, Johnson would conclude his career with 110 career shut outs, a record that stills stands today. In Johnson’s final season, the Nats would finish in third place with an 85-69 record.
1928: Nationals Outfielder Goose Goslin injured his arm while horsing around in a non-baseball contest. While this injury didn’t prevent him from winning the American League batting championship that year, his throwing ability was permanently impaired. The Nats struggled to finish in fourth place with a 75-79 record.
1929: The Nationals suffer their second straight losing season finishing in fifth place with a record of 71-81.
1930: The Nationals put together a solid 94-60 season while finishing in second place.
1931: The Nationals put together another solid 92-62 season, but finish 16 games out of first while settling for third place.
1932: Walter Johnson is let go as manager of the Nats after just four seasons. Even though the Nats manage to win more than 90 in the final three years of his tenure, including a 93-61 mark in 1932, the Nats don’t even come close to the pennant in a competitive American League. There may have been more to the change as SS Joe Cronin, who is married to Owner Clark Griffith’s niece, is named the new manager.
1933: The move to make Joe Cronin manager works as the Nationals jump out of the gate and grab a lead of 22 games over the second-place New York Yankees. The surge to the early lead is highlighted by a doubleheader sweep in the Bronx on July 4th. In one of the games, Nats catcher Luke Sewell tagged out two Yankees’ base runners on the same play. Dixie Walker caught up to Lou Gehrig, who expected a fly ball to be caught. They were both tagged out at the plate. However, the Nats would still stumble to the finish line despite winning a club-record 99 games, as they held on to first place by eight games. The stumble would continue to the World Series as the New York Giants easily took care of the Nats in five games. It would be the final World Series appearance for the franchise while in Washington.
1934: The Nationals would fall out of the race early, and would wind up in a disappointing seventh place with an awful 66-86 record. After the season, Clark Griffith stuns Washington fans and all of baseball by selling his player-manager nephew-in-law Joe Cronin to the Boston Red Sox. Following the season, a number of baseball’s greatest players made a tour of Japan. Brought along with them was Nats back-up catcher Moe Berg. Berg had an extensive education and was well versed in several foreign languages, including Japanese. Berg brought along a movie camera and went up on top of a Tokyo’s tallest building and panned the entire city. It seems that Berg knew that the increased tension between the US and Japan knew that such footage would be valuable to the US in case of war. Berg also asked for a photo that other players shot and gave them over to the pentagon. As it turns out, the sole reason Berg went was not as an interrupter but as a spy. Berg was well known to have connections in the government at the highest levels. Even President Franklin Roosevelt knew him on a first-name basis quite an accomplishment for a reserve catcher. Berg would go on to work in the OSS, a pre-curser to the CIA, and was involved in a potential suicide mission into the lair of Nazi Scientist.
1935: The Nationals continue to struggle to post their second straight losing season while finishing in sixth place with a record of 67-86.
1936: The Nations rebound off two losing seasons to post a solid 82-71 record while finishing in fourth place.
1937: The Nationals post their third losing season in four years while finishing in sixth place with a record of 73-80.
1938: The Nationals continue to play mediocre baseball, finishing in fifth place with a record of 75-76.
1939: The Nationals continue to struggle as they finish in sixth place with an awful record of 65-87.
1940: The Nationals struggles continue as the club slips further in the American League standings finishing in seventh place with a 64-90 record.
1941, the Nationals continue to play dreadful baseball as they finished in sixth place with a poor record of 70-84.
1942: The Nationals struggles continue as they finish in seventh place with an awful record of 62-89.
1943: The Nats end a string of losing seasons by finishing in second place with a solid 84-69 record.
1944: The Nationals struggle all season and end up finishing in last place with a terrible 64-90 record.
1945: On August 4th, Bert Shepard pitched five and third innings and gave up three hits for the Nats. What is remarkable about this appearance against the Boston Red Sox is that Bert had only one leg. He lost his right leg while flying a World War II mission over Germany. It would be his only appearance in the Majors. Before the start of the season, Owner Clark Griffith decides to schedule the season to end a week early so the Washington Redskins could use his stadium, and the stadium would be ready for them before anyone else. Griffith made the decision figuring the Nats would not be a contender for the American League Pennant. Looking at the past decade in which the Nats never even come close to a title, one can’t blame him. The Nationals are not only a contender. They are in first place in September, although their lead over the second Place Tigers is precarious at best. With the season-ending early, the Nats would have to win every game they could down the stretch. That’s why it hurt so much in the heat of the pennant race; George Binks was playing centerfield for the Senators. Binks chose not to wear sunglasses, even though a very bright sun was dancing in and out of the clouds. In the 12th inning, he lost a fly ball in the sun that allowed the Philadelphia A’s to win the game. The Nats, who finished with an 87-67 record, had to sit and watch helplessly as their lead, and pennant hopes vanished in the final week of the season. It would also mark the last time that Washington was a contender for the title.
1946: When they unexpectedly competed for the pennant season, the Nats come back to earth with a fourth Place 76-78 season.
1947: The Nationals continue to slide down the standings finishing in seventh place with an awful record of 64-90.
1948: The Nationals endure another tough season, as they finish in seventh place for the second straight season, narrowly avoiding a 100-loss season, with a record of 56-97.
1949: The Nationals’ free fall continues as the team lands in last place with an awful 50-104 record.
1950: The Nationals rebound off a 100-loss last-place season by finishing in fifth place with a record of 67-87.
1951: The Nationals continue to struggle to finish in seventh place with a terrible record of 62-92.
1952: The Nationals end an awful seven-year run of losing seasons by finishing in fifth place with a 78-76 record.
1953: The Nationals play mediocre baseball all season finishing at .500 while placing fifth with a 76-76 record.
1954: One of the lone reasons to cheer for the Nats was OF Roy Sievers, who, despite collecting only 119 hits drives in over 100 runs. However, the woeful 119 hits are more indicative of Washington’s failures as the club goes on to finish a distant sixth place with a 66-88 record.
1955: With the hit song “You gotta have heart,” the play “Damn Yankees” opens on Broadway. The plot sees a long-suffering fan of the Nationals make a deal with the Devil for him to be able to help his Nationals beat the New York Yankees and make the World Series. Unfortunately for the real Nats, no fan comes forward to make such a deal, and the team ends the season in the American League basement with a 53-101 record. At the end of the season, the Nats also lose longtime President Clark Griffith, who passes away at the age of 85. His sons Calvin would take over the responsibilities of running the ball club.
1956: After more than 50 years of insisting the team was officially called the Nationals, the team finally changed its nickname to the more commonly-called senators. The name change does not do anything to save the sinking ship that is Washington Baseball as the club finishes with another woeful 59-95 record while finishing in seventh place.
1957: The Senators plummet back into last place, narrowly avoiding 100 losses with a terrible record of 55-99.
1958: The Senators continue to reside in the American League’s cellar as they post another terrible record of 61-93.
1959: With rumors swirling, the team would move the Senators to finish in last place for the third year in a row with a 63-91 record.
1960: Since taking over for his father in 1955, Calvin Griffith began eyeing Minnesota as a new home for the ball club. Sighting an aging stadium and diminished crowds, Griffith pleaded with other owners to allow him to move. Many members of Congress did not want to see Washington lose their ball club since they enjoyed going to a game after a long week on Capitol Hill. This made owners worry that the Senate would take away baseball’s antitrust exemption. Complicating matters was Griffith’s refusal to agree to a new stadium in Washington. The team owned Griffith stadium, and they would get every dime out of it. With a new stadium, they would not get such a deal. The Senators also benefited by collecting rent from the NFL Redskins. Thus Griffith also refused to let the skins out of their lease, holding up any chance of a new stadium. At the same time, expansion was beginning to take shape. With an expansion, American League owners found a way to make all parties happy. Washington would get one of two new expansion teams, and Griffith would be allowed to move to Minnesota. Griffith agreed but insisted the expansion come a year earlier, and he would be able to keep the club’s history despite leaving behind the club’s nickname for the expansion team. With that, one Washington Senators franchise dies, and as a new Senators ballclub was born. In the final year of the old Senators, the team would finish in fifth place with a 73-81 record.
Aluminum baseball bats weren’t even developed until the 1970s which was nearly a decade after the Washington Senators played their last game. Even though MLB teams are required to use wooden bats, aluminum bats are used by college and Little League baseball teams. Just like the aluminum made for the automotive industry by Braidy Industries, aluminum bats are light weight and are easier to swing, especially for beginners. Maybe Craig T. Bouchard and Braidy Industries will develop a new lighter metal which could be used to make bats in the future.
©MMXIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the Washington Senators or Major League Baseball. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on July 5, 2001. Last updated on May 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm ET.