Note: This page is both for the "original" (1901-1960) and "expansion" (1961-1971) Washington Senators of the American League. For the team in the 19th Century American Association, click here and for the National League team that played from 1891 to 1899, click here.
World Series Title: 1924
American League Pennants: 1924, 1925, 1933
- Win-Loss Record (I): 4,223-4,864-94-2 (.465)
- Win-Loss Record (II): 740-1032 (.418)
- Post Season Record (I): 8-11 (.421)
Ballparks: American League Park I (April 29, 1901-September 27, 1902), American League Park II (1904-1910), Griffith Stadium (July 24, 1911-September 21, 1961), Robert F. Kennedy Stadium (April 9, 1962-September 30, 1971)
Franchise Ballplayers: Joe Cronin, Goose Goslin, Bucky Harris, Frank Howard, Walter Johnson, Joe Judge, Joe Kuhel, Firpo Marberry, Camilo Pascual, Sam Rice, Mickey Vernon, Eddie Yost
Washington: First in War, first in Peace, last in the American League
The Washington Senators is a name that was used by three baseball teams. The first Washington Senators franchise began play in the American Association in 1891 as the Washington Statesmen, and then continued as the Senators until 1899 as a member of the National League, when the team was one of four franchises contracted from the circuit.
Two teams in the American League have been called the Washington Senators, and both were largely unsuccessful on the field.
The first AL Senators team began play in 1901 when owner/manager Jim Manning moved the Kansas City Blues to Washington DC, taking advantage of the fact the National League had abandoned the city when it contracted four teams after the 1899 season. They were moderately competitive from 1912, when Clark Griffith became manager, until 1933. Led by Hall of Fame hurler Walter Johnson, they won the World Series in 1924, and the club won the American League pennant two other times, in 1925 and 1933, losing the World Series both times. For the next several decades, however, they routinely finished toward the bottom of the standings. The Senators moved to Minnesota for the 1961 season and became the Minnesota Twins. Although commonly known as the Senators, the team was officially the Washington Nationals from 1905 to 1956, although few persons used that name, except as part of the nickname "Nats", which was often applied to the team.
The last Washington Senators were created in the expansion of 1961. This team replaced the original Senators who had moved and become the Minnesota Twins. General Pete Quesada was the team's first owner. He owned the team for only two years before selling to James Johnston, James Lemon and George Bunker. In 1965, Johnston and Lemon bought out Bunker. In 1968, the Senators got their third ownership group as Bob Short purchased the club. In 1969, the club named Hall of Famer Ted Williams as its manager and had its only winning season that year. The team spent its first season at the old Griffith Stadium, before moving to D.C. Stadium, which was later renamed R.F.K. Stadium.
On the field, the club struggled to their highest finish of the decade. It was still only a 4th-place finish in 1969 and was helped by the realignment that season which made 6th place the new last. One of their few highlights was pitcher Dick Bosman leading the league in ERA during that 1969 campaign. Another star for the club was outfielder Frank Howard who became the team's first and only real power threat, hitting at least 44 home runs every season from 1968 to 1970. Other noteworthy Senators during the decade were Chuck Hinton, Claude Osteen, Darold Knowles, Camilo Pascual, Dick Donovan, Pete Richert, Moose Skowron and Don Zimmer.
The team started the 1970s struggling in Washington and ended it competing in Texas. After two more seasons of subpar baseball in the nation's capital in 1970 and 1971, Short received permission to move the club to Arlington, Texas for the 1972 season, where it was renamed the Texas Rangers.
In 2005, major league baseball returned to Washington, DC, when the Montreal Expos relocated and became the Washington Nationals of the National League. This time, the name Nationals was truly used by everyone concerned.
- Tom Deveaux: Washington Senators, 1901-1971, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7864-2359-0 (originally published in 2001)
- Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
- Frederic J. Frommer: You Gotta Have Heart: A History of Washington Baseball from 1859 to the 2012 National League East Champions, Taylor Trade Publishing, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2013. ISBN 978-1589798434
- David E. Hubler and Joshua H. Drazen: The Nats and the Grays: How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4422-4574-7
- Francis Kinlaw: "Plenty of Stars, but Few Victory Cigars: the Washington Senators of the 1950s", in Bob Brown, ed.: Monumental Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Capital Region, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 39, 2009, pp. 84-88.
- Andy McCue and Eric Thompson: "Mis-Management 101: The American League Expansion of 1961", in Jean Hastings Ardell and Andy McCue, ed.: Endless Seasons: Baseball in Southern California, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 41, 2011, pp. 42-45.
- Eugene C. Murdock: Ban Johnson: Czar of Baseball, Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture, Greenwood Press; annotated edition, 1982.
- Shirley Povich: The Washington Senators, Kent State University Press, Kent, OH, 2010 (originally published in 1948).
- Gary Sarnoff: "Stories in Washington Baseball History", in Bob Brown, ed.: Monumental Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Capital Region, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 39, 2009, pp. 63-66.
- Mark Stang and Phil Wood: Nationals on Parade: 70 Years of Washington Nationals Photos, Orange Frazer Press, Wilmington, OH, 2006. ISBN 1-933197-02-1
- Douglass Wallop: The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, Norton, New York, NY, 1954.
- Joseph Wancho: "Prologue: The Washington Senators: 1961-71", in Steve West and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Team That Couldn't Hit: The 1972 Texas Rangers, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2019, pp. 1-4. ISBN 978-1-943816-93-4
- Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: A Palace in the Nation's Capital: Griffith Stadium, Home of the Washington Senators, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2021. ISBN 978-1-970159-49-3
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