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Looking back at D.C.’s playoff history

Oct 6, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

30th President of the United States Calvin Coolidge gets set to throw out the first pitch of the 1924 World Series (Photo by AP.)

When the Nationals begin the National League Division Series on Sunday, it will mark the first playoff game for a Washington baseball team in 79 years.  D.C. baseball fans have seen 45 total major league seasons without a playoff appearance in that span and 34 years without a team at all.

It has been a long time coming for baseball in the district, but before the Nationals commence the NLDS and a new era in Washington, their previous playoff appearances deserve a look back. 

A Washington baseball team made the playoffs just three times in the 20th century, here is a look at those series.

1924 – World Series

Washington Senators vs. New York Giants

Result: Won in seven games

At 36 years old and in his 18th major league season, Senators pitching great Walter Johnson finally got to play in a World Series with the 1924 team. The ‘Big Train’ actually lost both of his starts, including a 12-strikeout effort in Game 1, but earned a win in relief with four scoreless innings in Game 7. 
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  1. MicheleS - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Nice story about the Nats in the Boston Globe

  2. Gonat - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Sounds like Calvin Cooledge needs to be a new Racing President!

  3. Gonat - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Sorry, Coolidge. People can yell COOOOOOL LIDGE.

  4. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    I've got to say I'm conflicted on the O's victory. First, from a purely baseball standpoint, I like the idea of the O's and the Yankees taking their end-of-season showdown to the next level. I expect the Yankees to win, but it should be a good series. But second, from a Nats standpoint, I endorse almost all the negative things written here about Peter Angelos and his quest to keep baseball out of the DC metro area. And, by playing the Yankees, the O's end up with more national exposure, even if they lose and the Nats win. Yet, on a third more personal level, I was glad to see the Rangers lose given their history and what they unleashed on the country.

  5. #4 - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    The two teams that I could not stomach winning it all are the Braves and the O's. One down, one to go.

  6. baseballswami - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I am a sucker for an underdog story. I hate Yankees. The O's can take care of humiliating the Yankees and then they can start losing. How about a series with the Nats and the Oakland "Former Nats"? I am still stunned that both teams that won were not at home . The Braves were playing very well this last month and looked like a lock with Medlen on the mound. Texas has a powerful lineup and were in the WS the last 2 years. This new format is crazy.

  7. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    The O's won't get too far with a paste by the numbers roster. Still, given their injuries to players like Markakis? Resurrecting players like Joe Saunders and McLouth? Very much like the Nats 2005 roster.

  8. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    The Braves were playing very well this last month and looked like a lock with Medlen on the mound. Texas has a powerful lineup and were in the WS the last 2 years. This new format is crazy.Now, we can see good examples as to why all the managers feared and almost loathed ending up as a wildcard team. Anything can happen in a single game. They definitely need to change the format … it should at least be a best of 3 series.

  9. baseballswami - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    I don't know – there is something very urgent and exciting about the one game play-in. I know they wanted to place more importance on winning the division – it certainly worked. The part I don't like this year is starting on the road when you supposedly have home field advantage. I know that's changing next year. One more day of being casual spectators.

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    There are puddles of water all over Atlanta. If they continue crying and whining they may have to post flood warnings.

  11. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Me, I like it when we talk about what unites us and brings us to this unique venue rather than what divides (some of) us. But maybe that's just me. Heck, there's plenty more we can argue about, like the infield fly rule for example. :-)Torturing Poopy McPoop was good fun. He really had a hard time with me … ~smiles~ now he's changed his handle … due to the new WaPo monitoring. And they do monitor quite closely.People can say DC owner Griffith blocked Baltimore for years … I'm sure that racist did indeed do so … not as big a racist as the Redskins first owner, still … And then they finally get the St. Louis Browns in exchange for major league baseball allowing Griffiths to eventually move his team west where he deemed all the money was. But, the way Baltimore lorded it over DC losing its original franchise and then getting a pathetic expansion team with a horrendous owner … and then the "smoky back room" politics involved with ensuring the team would return to a Baltimore owner's hands so that the team wouldn't suddenly be moved to DC and a new stadium … snorting with laughter and glee as they ripped off the entire state of Maryland's tax money to turn the city of Baltimore into the ultimate example of urban renewal. Including 2 sports franchises stadiums nestled in the midst of the Innuh Habbah. Meanwhile, blocking the Redskiins owner from building his stadium in lucrative Montgomery County by blocking any and all infrastructure upgrades allowing access to said stadium. Instead it ends up in the armpit that Abe Pollin abandoned rushing to get away and get into DC and the Capital Centre. And then a corrupt mob lawyer blocking and DC team moving into his area … for decades … scaring off potential ownership groups. Until one appeared that wasn't afraid of Angelos, was a true DC local, and had more money than any owner in major league baseball. And to do so he had to agree to be screwed royally for his team's media rights by the corrupt and crooked mob lawyer. And then there's the obnoxious Arbutians who go to O's games. Worse than any in baseball. There's no redeeming characteristic associated with Baltimore and its Orioles. They would sell sour, rancid Cal Ripken milk to babies.

  12. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    peric @ 11:41,On one level I agree with you on the three-game series; baseball has too much randomness in it to believe that one game really demonstrates which is the superior. But I also tend to believe the players and managers who talk about the dangers of idleness before and between series. Making the play-in series a best two out of three would extend the time between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the NLDS/ALDS by at least another three days (you've got to include a travel day in the planning as I assume there would be some sort of rotation between cities). Even if you let the other playoff series start before the WC is decided, that would mean, essentially, a week between the end of the season and the first game for the team with each league's best record. I don't see that as a positive.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    I'm with you Peric. Angelos only cares about money. That's what the DC embargo was all about.

  14. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Mark: THANK YOU…. this what I was hoping you would post. The front page of the Post was EXCELLENT. I had no idea a fan from 1924 was still around and as sharp as a whip. Now, the Nats should invite and honor this 99 year old DC boy before the first playoff game on Wed!

  15. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    the famous quote by old silent Cal was of course when a woman once said to him, "I bet my husband that I can make you say more than 2 words"Cal simply said in a straight face "You lose"

  16. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    I think that would be fun, swami. I suspect the network suits wouldn't agree, but too bad for them. :-)How about a series with the Nats and the Oakland "Former Nats"?

  17. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    An old friend in the Bay Area is hoping for a Giants/A's series (without the earthquake), but she knows I'd prefer that my boys are still in it.

  18. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Mick I will say that Cal Sr. was a classy guy. Probably why Cal and Billy turned out to be major league players.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Love all players from Balti per-Angelos. Cal was pre-Angelos. Palmeiro and Sosa and all those juicers can rot with Angelos carcass.

  20. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Let's be fair to Clark Griffith, he was a great owner and ahead of his time. His adopted son Clark (not many know he was adopted) was a racist jack ass. When DC Stadium was built, the Griffith's went from owners to renters and thus lost profits by not owning DC stadium. When Clark took over the team in 1955, it was all down hill, as this moron who hated Blacks so much denied some of the greatest local athletes a chance to play for the ball club, among one of them Maury Wills, of course he then moved the team to Minneapolis in 1961So two lousy human beings destroyed baseball temporarily in DC, Bob Short in 1971, and Clark Griffith, both whom are not missed.

  21. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    a week between the end of the season and the first game for the team with each league's best record. I don't see that as a positive.Yes, there's that and a lengthened season. I don't see owners shortening it back to what it used to be to accommodate an extended playoff format. But, you never know its all incumbent on TV revenues and I should think those would be higher for playoff match ups, the more the merrier. If a team is truly championship caliber it should have the discipline to stay honed during that week off … shouldn't it?

  22. peric - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    So two lousy human beings destroyed baseball temporarily in DC, Bob Short in 1971, and Clark Griffith, both whom are not missed.Make that 4. Add in Peter Angelos and William Donald Schaefer.

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Josh Hamilton just laid over yesterday. 0-4 with 2 Ks, and that first inning doubleplay that showed so little effort when his team had 1st and 3rd with no outs in the 1st.

  24. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I can not stand Angelos and never will… but I have had the pleasure of meeting several old Orioles and they are all great human beings… Johnny Oates comes first, just a great guy and so sad when he passed, both Cal Sr and Jr, Elrod Hendricks, Dave McNally, Larry Sheets all come to mind and of course Davey. Put Angelos aside gang, there are some good dudes past and present with the O's

  25. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Peric lololololo

  26. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Ghost… I suspect the Rangers window may be over

  27. NatsLady - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    mick, supposedly the Rangers have a great farm system, so maybe not. Anyway, I won't miss them in the playoffs this year, and I pity the team that signs Hamilton and all his drama.

  28. mick - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    NatsLady said…mick, supposedly the Rangers have a great farm system, so maybe not. Anyway, I won't miss them in the playoffs this year, and I pity the team that signs Hamilton and all his drama.maybe Dan Synder can sign him…. woops, wrong sport, lol

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    NatsLady is correct again on the Rangers and Hamilton.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Mick, of course. Vintage Os. I only hate the Phillies more. Yes, hate. I like the Ravens so it's just Angelos and his team and their O chant.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I like Joe Saunders.

  32. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Agree Rangers' window may have past. Unless they morph into the Lone Star Giants, dominating w/ pitching (Darvish was very impressive). Young definitely on the downside. Kinsler had a crumby year and is mediocre on D, at best. Andrus hasn't lived up to potential. Hamilton is too high maintenance to be worth bringing back. Gentry and Murphy are fill-ins. Napoli is as bad behind the plate as Uggla is at 2B. DeSoto acquisition was pathetic.Wow. After Beltre, there's nothing good to say. Glad (for them) they got a good TV contract because they're going to be playing in front of a lot of empty seats.

  33. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    "passed" not "past." (Grinding teeth.)

  34. NatsLady - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Here is my list of AL teams that I in order of least to most feared:Detroit – big boppers and Verlander + Scherzer. Just play a clean game. Gio and JZ can match their Aces, and our O can match theirs. I ain't a-sceered o' no Tigers.A's – young and hunry–and deep–like the Nats, but Davey will ou manage Melvin.O's – like a sibling rivalry. Strangely, the Nats are the stronger sibling. Just keep that in mind. Davey is just as smart as Showalter.Yanks – how much have the boys learned since June? Girardi won't make mistakes and nor will the players. They really want this one after previous years. Will need all of Davey's, Werth's and ALR's smarts, and the Kid's energy.This is fun.

  35. Section 222 - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Once they fix the 2-3 scheduling of the NLDS, the new format is just fine. Why shouldn't Texas, which collapsed and lost its division, have to play a one and done play-in game? Same for the Braves. They had 162 games to catch the Nats. They couldn't do it. They don't deserve any more of a chance than they got. Now we have four pretty interesting NLDS series to watch. And a home game in DC on Wednesday. This is heaven.

  36. Section 222 - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    With all the money the Rangers have at their disposal, they will be a power for a long time. Just depends on how they want to spend it. If they shell out for Hamilton, that will be an indicator they are more interested in sentiment than winning. But I don't expect they will. Oh, and they need a better manager,

  37. NatsLady - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    All the Rangers needed to do was not get swept by the A's. I have no sympathy.

  38. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Nats Lady — Johnson is smarter than Showalter. First, Johnson never keel-hauled his third base coach for a disastrous season. Second, for as much as people say Showalter allows his players to "just play," he's burned out every team he managed within a couple of years. Unless I miss my guess, the Os will regress substantially next year. With allowances for Muchado's inexperience — and I think he's a fine talent; I'm just reserving judgment — the Orioles have at most two players in their starting lineup who would make the Nats roster let alone play every day.How they won this year I have no idea. I think it was an accident.

  39. NatsLady - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I don't think Showalter allows his players to just play, in the sense that Davey does. In my (limited) observation he moves them around like chess pieces. Davey, on the other hand, establishes "roles" and wants players to "express their talent" by developing their strengths in that role. The exception is LF (where he puts whoever he can't find room for when he wants a hitter–there being no DH; and the Clip/Storen).

  40. baseballswami - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Section222 – tend to agree. This has added a completely new dynamic to September and early October. You think you are good enough to challenge three division winners? Prove it! Yesterday I said that I thought it was time to show Medlen that he is mortal. Mission accomplished. I think the Braves are in shock over that. They seem to be forgetting that Ross got an extra strike in his at bat that led to a 2 run home run. He should have been out before that pitch. Pretty convenient amnesia, huh? As for the Rangers – on paper they should be better and that in itself is a problem. With their roster, especially their hitting line up? Something is just a little bit off down there. When are we going to see the roster? Twitter is saying that Lannan and DeRosa are not on it, but I haven't seen anything official and they are all in the air right now, so someone knows.

  41. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Not that I don't have confidence in my Nats but we do have a couple of series to get through first.NatsLady said… Here is my list of AL teams that I in order of least to most feared: Detroit – big boppers and Verlander + Scherzer. Just play a clean game. Gio and JZ can match their Aces, and our O can match theirs. I ain't a-sceered o' no Tigers. A's – young and hunry–and deep–like the Nats, but Davey will ou manage Melvin. O's – like a sibling rivalry. Strangely, the Nats are the stronger sibling. Just keep that in mind. Davey is just as smart as Showalter. Yanks – how much have the boys learned since June? Girardi won't make mistakes and nor will the players. They really want this one after previous years. Will need all of Davey's, Werth's and ALR's smarts, and the Kid's energy. This is fun. October 06, 2012 12:48 PM

  42. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Gio Q&A from Big League Stew.

  43. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    hmmm, did they do the interview before he won his 21st?

  44. NatsLady - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    1a, of course. But it's fun (to me) to see how the Nats might stack up against the AL teams.

  45. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Heard on mlb network Lannan and DeRosa not on the vs. Cards roster. Has anyone seen the list?

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Manassas, thats off of Ladsons tweet last night but it makes sense that they aren't on it.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    MASN now quoting off of MLB Network.

  48. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Is garcia on? How many pitchers? I agree it made sense

  49. Section 222 - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I believe I read that the roster for each series must be set the morning of the first game of that series. What time, I'm not sure. The Nats might say something today about it (and Ladson's sources told him a completely logical thing last night), but they don't have to.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Count on Garcia. Question is pick 2 of 3 of Gorzo, MGonzo, and Lannan.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Gorzo and Mike G. for me, Ghost.

  52. Swift Eagle - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Agree Jack…I don't think there's a role for Lannan in this series…

  53. Tcostant - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I heard Mark say this on the radio today. The interesting thing about starting on the road, that it means if the Nats win this series that the win will happen at home. I think that is pretty cool.

  54. Gonat - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Lannan is stretched out as a long-man and has been Big Game John.If you are almost 100% sure that Gio, JZim, EJax and Det can pitch Aces than certainly you don't need Lannan.

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    5 game series with a travel day means you only need 4 starters and Stammen and Gorzo can be your long men.

  56. natsfan1a - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    That is very cool. Leave it to Mark to come up with a bright side. :-)Tcostant said… I heard Mark say this on the radio today. The interesting thing about starting on the road, that it means if the Nats win this series that the win will happen at home. I think that is pretty cool. October 06, 2012 2:48 PM

  57. slidell2 - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Clark Griffith was a nice man(so far as I know); his adopted son's name was Calvin. Calvin was a stuffed shirt who reasoned that the low attendance at Griffith Stadium was because black people didn't like baseball, plus that the Stadium was old, decrepit, and had NO parking. There was also of course the little business that the Senators were generally not a good product. DC hammered the nails into the coffin by refusing to fund a new stadium. (Unlike the Lerners, the Griffiths were not wealthy and could not afford to build one themselves.)

  58. Steady Eddie - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    mick — a small correction from earlier, the "racist, evil old coot" Boz described who absconded with the original Nats up to Minnesota was Calvin Griffith, not Clark.

  59. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    From Chronicle Staff Writer Susan Slusser at Comerica ParkHere’s the A’s lineup today for Game 1: Crisp CF, Drew SS, Cespedes LF, Moss 1B, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Smith DH, Norris C, Pennington 2B. Parker P.

  60. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    This would be mr rosterpitchersGioJZimEjaxDetStammenGarciaMattheusStorenClippardBurnettGorzyM GonzoSuzukiFloresLaRocheEspinosaRzimTracyLomboHarperWerthMorseMoorrShark

  61. slidell2 - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Some more history- To be fair, Calvin Griffith was not an "old racist coot"; he was a "middle-aged racist coot" at the time of THE MOVE. At least half the blame for the move lies at the feet of the DC government. Senators I were long gone before DC finally ponied up the money for DC Stadium as a condition for getting a replacement MLB team. For all his faults(he had many), Calvin was correct in the business sense that he could not develop a competitive team at Griffith Stadium. My source for the last sentence: Shirley Povich.

  62. John C. - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Manassas, you forgot the All Star SS :-)

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