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.
In the entire life of the franchise, only two players have had at least four RBI in a game on their birthday. The first to do it was Andre Dawson in 1982 against the San Francisco Giants. He went 3/5 with a home run and 4 RBI. A National also completed the feat in 2011. Jayson Werth torched the Baltimore Orioles with a 3/4 game with two home runs and four RBI.
No player in the franchise has ever had four hits on their birthday.
There have been quite a few good second basemen in franchise history but it might be the weakest position historically. Off the top of my head, I can’t name one elite second baseman the franchise has had. Rodney Scott, Delino DeShields and Mike Lansing were two of the second basemen when the team was most successful. And Jose Vidro had a few very good seasons before becoming a powerless designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners. In present day, Danny Espinosa carries the torch but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would consider him any more than “good”.
So let’s take a look at the best seasons by a second baseman in franchise history and see if the guys I came up with off the top of my head are the ones at the top of the list.
As expected, Vidro dominated the position and had four of the best five seasons in franchise history from second base (by OPS+), and it was in four consecutive seasons from 2000-2003. The other one? Well, the third best season from a second baseman by OPS+ was done in 1985 by Vance Law. I know, I was shocked as well. His 1985 season was .266/.369/.405 with 10 HR and 52 RBI. Pretty pedestrian statistics but he was helped by an incredible 86 walks in 621 plate appearances (13.8 per cent).
The rest of the top 10 was Ron Hunt (1971), DeShields (1990 and 1992), Lansing (1997), and Vidro again (1999). The top 10 was followed immediately by Danny Espinosa, who holds the Nationals record, for his 2011 season.
The best performance from a hitter in the cleanup spot is a three-way tie and for the first time a Nationals player is in the top spot. Adam Dunn had 12 total bases on July 7, 2010 when he went 3/4 with three home runs and five RBI. He equaled the mark set by Hal Breeden on September 2, 1973 (4/5, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and then tied by Tim Wallach on May 4, 1987 (3/4, 3 HR, 6 RBI).