DoD Staff: Our favorite Nationals players growing up

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after hitting a walk-off two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after hitting a walk-off two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 22: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after hitting a walk-off two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Max Rayman

I didn’t watch baseball until the Expos moved to D.C. in 2005 and became the Nationals. In the team’s inaugural season, I was immediately taken in by the entire team. Nick Johnson, Chad Cordero, Livan Hernandez, Jose Vidro, and Vinny Castilla all had their moments, but it was Brad Wilkerson who stood out the most. After relocation, Wilkerson hit the Nationals first grand slam and also became the first Nat to hit for the cycle. His pop impressed nine year old me and I was devastated when he was traded to the Texas Rangers after the 2005 season.

In Wilkerson’s stead came Alfonso Soriano. Only a National for one season, Soriano made it count. During the 2006 season, he became the fourth player in history to join the 40-40 club, while also making watching a 91 loss Nationals team fun.

light. MORE NATS. From top pick to top prospect

However, my favorite National has always been the one they call, Mr. National. Drafted in 2005, Zimmerman accomplished a feat that is rarely seen in today’s MLB. He was called up in the same year he was drafted. After his successful 2005 callup, Zimerman took over as the team’s starting third baseman in 2006. Since then, Mr. National has become the franchise’s leader in hits, total bases, doubles, homers, and RBIs. In 15 seasons with the team, Zimmerman is hitting .279, with 270 homers, 1015 RBIs, and an OPS of .818. Known also as Mr. Walkoff, Zimmerman is third all-time in walk-off homers, two behind Jim Thome for most all-time.

Now entering his 16th season with the team, Zimmerman has already engulfed himself as a franchise legend.

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