The off-season is almost over. Less than three weeks until Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Viera. To celebrate this fact, we here at DistrictOnDeck will commence a countdown of sorts pointing out interesting facts about numbers.
We continue today with number 16.
Steve Rogers was one of the best pitchers in Montreal Expos history, but he is largely forgotten except for his biggest mistake – leaving a sinker up to Rick Monday in a tie game in the Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, he is the pitcher with the most 16 win seasons in franchise history. He had four seasons with at least 16 wins, and only two other pitchers – Dennis Martinez and Ken Hill – have more than one with two each. Rogers won 17 in 1977, 16 in 1980, 19 in 1982 and 17 in 1983. He won 12 games in 1981 so if it weren’t for the strike you could assume he would have had a fifth.
It’s ironic we are talking wins with Rogers because in an era where it was all we had to compare pitchers was those wins, Rogers fell under the radar. At his peak, he was better than Jack Morris but the problem was his longevity and the fact he played on some bad Expos teams. Rogers was above average in 1976, but went 7-17 despite a 3.21 ERA. After his 1983 season where he went 17-12, 3.23 he was 6-15 with a 4.31 ERA in 1984 and 2-4, 5.68 ERA in 1985 before being released and retiring.
Notable players to wear 16 with the Expos/Nationals: Chris Widger, Terry Francona, Tom Foley, Mike Jorgensen, Claude Raymond, Bob Natal, Mike Vento, Justin Maxwell, Wily Mo Pena, Paul Lo Duca, Josh Willingham, Bo Porter