Friday, August 13, 2010

Les Expos de Montréal

Yeah, I only watched that a dozen times today. The MLB Network will air an hour long special on the Expos Sunday focusing on their magical 1994 season and terrible relocation to Strasburg, which I assume is the eventual renaming of Washington DC. I always liked the Expos but I have an unusual fascination with Canada. It started with hockey, took a strange turn with poutine and ended with Degrassi: The Next Generation. Who knew Jimmy Brooks would become a famous rapper?

As long as I'm writing an Expos post, we might as well take a look at my favorite Expo players. Sorry Gary Carter and Andre Dawson but I spent most of the 80's trying to learn how to play the drums in my basement. Turns out I have no musical talent whatsoever.

1. Vladimir Guerrero
This shouldn't come as a surprise considering Vlad is my favorite baseball player despite relocating to Arlington from Orange County this year. Vladdy was an Expo from 1996 to 2003 with 234 home runs, 123 stolen bases and a .323/.390/.588 slash line. In the year 2000, Vlad hit 44 homers and .345/.410/.664 but finished 6th in MVP voting behind Jeff Kent, some guy named Barry Bonds and others. Vlad is still on a Hall of Fame career path even though the painted concrete Montreal tried to pass off as outfield grass destroyed his knees.

2. Tim Raines
Admittedly, I didn't watch much of Rock's career in Montreal but I'm one of Raines' big Hall of Fame supporters. From 1979 to 1990, Rock had 96 homers, 634 stolen bases and a .301/.390/.438 line. He's the second best lead off hitter in the history of baseball but gets a bad rep because he dabbled in the cocaine. Like you didn't do something stupid in the 80's.

3. Pedro Martinez
Pedro was only in Montreal for 3 years but his 1997 season was incredible. He won the NL Cy Young thanks to a 1.90 ERA and 13 complete games. Pedro is the third Hall of Famer on this list but maybe the most deserving. His peak years rival any other pitcher who ever threw a ball. Just go look at 1997, 1999 and 2000. Stunning.

4. Moises Alou
Alou spent 1992-1996 in Montreal before floating around the rest of the National League. Alou hit .293/.350/.490 in his tenure with the Expos and was roughly 20% better than league average. His career year came in 1998 with Houston but in 1994 Alou was on an MVP pace before the work stoppage. He was hitting .339/.397/.592 going into August 12th.

5. Larry Walker
Walker is an interesting Hall of Fame case. He has a career .400 OBP and had unbelievable seasons in 1997 and 1999. Sure some of that might have been Coors Field aided but it's still a pretty impressive 17-year career. Walker was in Montreal from 1989 to 1994 and posted a respectable .281/.357/.483 line with 99 homers mixed in.

Sentimental Favorite: Mike Lansing
I honestly can't remember why I liked Lansing so much but I was a big fan during his Montreal days. His .276/.333/.405 is mediocre enough and I don't think he played remarkable defense at second base. But yeah, for whatever reason I rooted for Lansing during his 5-year stay in Canada. What do I know though? I have an authentic J.T. Snow California Angels jersey.

[h/t The Stew]

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