Washington Nationals: 10 greatest individual seasons

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Although perhaps Ryan Zimmerman’s best work came last year, his 2009 is historic too.

As the Nats stabilized the front office by hiring Mike Rizzo as General Manager, Zimmerman led the charge on the field.

Remember, this was a team in dead last with a 59-103 record. Manny Acta got canned after a 29-61 start. No pitcher won 10 games and Mike MacDougal led the team in saves with 20 while sporting a 3.60 ERA. Fun times.

However, at third, Zimmerman had his breakout season.

He smashed 33 homers while driving in 106. A slash line of .292/.364/.525 earned a .888 OPS, an OPS+ of 133 and an All-Star bid. Toss in a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger and you have yourself a tremendous year.

The first player drafted by the Nationals organization in 2005, Zimmerman was a conscious decision to be the first face of the franchise. In 2009, his stellar performance repaid Washington for their confidence.

If you are looking for his best game, a two-homer and four-RBI effort at San Francisco on May 11 answers your question. The first shot came off Randy Johnson, a solo blast in the sixth. A three-run blast to deep right in the ninth off Osiris Matos followed in the ninth. (Yes, they lost.)

In a career remembered forever in Washington, 2009 holds a special place for Zimmerman.