Friday, November 8, 2019

All-Time Red Sox/Nationals Lineup

I know, I know...this is over a week after the fact, but...

Congrats to the World Champion Washington Nationals! It was a fun series and I was happy to see my local team come out on top!

Last year, when the Red Sox and Dodgers were fighting it out, I thought it would be fun to construct a basic lineup of players that have donned both uniforms. I decided that I wanted to do that again this year and see which players have played for the Red Sox and Nationals.

First of all, a disclaimer: I didn't include the Montreal Expos in my search. Sorry - different city, different names, different teams in my opinion. Maybe be I'll reconsider if I can find video of crowds  celebrating in the streets of Montreal after Game 7.

While last year's Red Sox/Dodgers team was full of Hall of Famers and All-Stars, this one was full of journeyman and afterthoughts. There wasn't much to pull from in Washington's 15 years of existence. How bad was it? Out of the 11 players listed below, I couldn't find cards of them in both Red Sox and Nationals uniforms for 6 of them!

Catcher: Sandy Leon

2014 Choice Syracuse Chiefs #19 Sandy Leon
2019 Topps #419 Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon was an up-and-down backup catcher for the Nationals from 2012-2014. They sold his contract to the Red Sox and he's become a highly regarded pitch framer for them. Despite his offensive deficiencies, Boston's pitchers love having him behind the plate.

1st Baseman: Adam LaRoche

2009 Topps Updates & Highlights
#UH264 Adam LaRoche
2011 Topps #513 Adam LaRoche

Adam LaRoche's tenure in Boston was the pure definition of "blink and you'll miss it":

He won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for the Nationals three years later!

2nd Baseman: Wil Cordero

1996 Ultra #312 Wil Cordero
2005 Topps Total #561 Wil Cordero

Here's where I started to get creative. Cordero played only 38 games at second in his two years with Boston, but none in his 29-game sunset season in Washington. That's all it took to earn the starting 2nd Base position!

Shortstop: Stephen Drew

2014 Topps #585 Stephen Drew
2016 Topps Heritage #594 Stephen Drew

Like Cordero, Drew also ended his career playing for the Nationals.  He was the starting shortstop for the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox team.

3rd Baseman: Alex Cora

2006 Upper Deck #535 Alex Cora
2010 Topps Update #US-4 Alex Cora

Yet another player who spent the final days of his professional career donning the Curly W! The current Red Sox manager was a versatile fielder who played all 4 infield positions for both teams.

Left Fielder: Jonny Gomes

2014 Topps #274 Jonny Gomes
2011 Topps #598 Jonny Gomes

Jonny spent 43 games with Washington in 2011. Two years later, he becomes a fan favorite in Boston!

Center Fielder: Marlon Byrd

2012 Topps #144 Marlon Byrd
2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
#UH55 Marlon Byrd

Byrd's short 34 game stint in Boston was the start of a journeyman career that saw him play for 8 different teams in over the final 5 years of his career.

Right Fielder: Wily Mo Pena

2006 Topps Turkey Red
#519 Wily Mo Pena
2009 O-Pee-Chee #409 Wily Mo Pena

On August 17th, 2007 The Red Sox traded Wily Mo to the Nationals for Chris Carter. I'm pretty sure this is the "biggest" trade the two teams have made with each other.

Starting Pitcher: Doug Fister

2017 Topps Update #US131
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
#212 Doug Fister

Fister's last game as a Boston Red Sox was Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS against the Houston Astros. He gave up 3 runs in 1 /13 innings, retiring only 4 of the 9 batters he faced. Ironically, that was the only game Boston won that series.

Closer: Jonathan Papelbon

2014 Topps Update - World Series Heroes
#WSH-JP Jonathan Papelbon
2016 Topps #266 Jonathan Papelbon

The best player to have played for both teams, Pap was a 4 time All-Star in Boston before finishing his career (another one!) being remembered for choking out Bryce Harper. I wonder if any Nationals fans mind that little skirmish now...

Designated Hitter/Pinch Hitter: Matt Stairs

1994 Fleer/ProCards
#664 Matt Stairs
2011 Topps Update #US32 Matt Stairs

Last time, I had a managers spot. In the short history of the Nationals, there hasn't been anyone that has managed the Red Sox too. Instead, I decided to honor the legendary Matt Stairs! Apparently there must be something about ending your career in Washington, because Stairs becomes the 5th player on this list to retire as a National!

Not the most impressive team, is it? I still bet they could beat the Orioles or Tigers though!


  1. Wow, that's a pretty rough team. I do have to wonder how it would look with the Expos included.

    1. Much better when you can include Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, and Lee Smith! I may have to do an Expos lineup somewhere down the line!

    2. When you can start with players like that, definitely be fun to see how the Sox-Expos full team would come out.

  2. I remember being at Fenway park back in 2017 when the Sox were eliminated from the playoffs on a Dustin Pedroia groundout. Seeing them win it all the next year was a huge transformation.

  3. I don't consider the Nationals and Expos the same team either ;)

  4. Not a lot of big names, but I appreciate the effort you put into this. A lot of these Sox-Nats connections such as LaRoche, Cordero, and Stairs were news to me.