In this series I look back at the Montreal Expos by highlighting the greatest players of the modern era (1990-2004). In the last article I discussed the Infield, and if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. The Expos featured some very good infielders over the years, but in terms of position players it was in the outfield where we find the best of the best. As we move on to some much harder decisions, today’s article will focus on the outfield, and we’ll leave the pitchers for part 3.
Larry Walker: He was a great outfielder, a great hitter and a great Canadian player, which in Canada is a great player to market. Losing him was an awful mistake, resigning him after the strike in 1994 should have been top priority, he is a Canadian born All-Star and would have been a great sell in the city. Walker could have had a career year in Montreal in 1994. Walker hit the ball so well with an average of 0.322 he most likely was going to have a 35+ homerun season that year as well. For advanced stats guys, his OPS was .984 that season and his WAR 4.5 through 103 games. Walker played for the Expos from 1989-1994 and he won two gold-gloves and a silver slugger as he began his great career. Overall in Montreal he would have a .281 average with 666 hits, 99 Home runs 368 runs scored and 384 RBIs. Walker would go on to win the 1997 NL MVP award in Colorado he would win the MVP in 1997 and holds a number of team records for Rockies outfielders.
Rondell White: From 1993-2000 White was another great player in the Expos outfield, where he played the best baseball of his career for Montreal. With a .293 average including 808 career hits, 420 runs, 101 homeruns, and 384 RBI’s he had extremely good numbers over those 8 years. A fan favorite in Montreal, he paid back the community as he would buy 200 tickets for underprivileged youth for every Sunday home game.. White was with Montreal in an era where the team was trying to find a new owner and money was not being spent to keep the team’s core intact. White became a skilled face of the franchise later in his career, as a veteran who stayed while other recognizable Expos had been traded away or left as free agents. Overall Rondell White was a solid outfielder that could make any team stronger!
Vladimir Guerrero: If you know anything about the Expos after 1994 strike, you know Vlad and you know how great he was. I was once at a seminar at Concordia that had many journalists including Dave Van Horne and former Expos Catcher Michael Barrett. Barrett said that Guerrero was the Lebron James of baseball. He believed that if the Expos had promoted him better than the attendance in the Big O would not have been an issue. Guerrero quite simply is one of the greatest Expos of all-time, not just of the era. He was a stellar power hitter with a free swinging style and a canon for an arm, which made him a threat to throw out any runner who tested him from the outfield. His numbers in Montreal were a .323, 1215 hits, 641 Runs, and 234 Homeruns. In 1999 he went on a 33-game hitting streak. In 2000 he hit 44 Homeruns, which was the most ever by an Expo. He would finishe the season with an OPS of 1.074 and a WAR value of 5.7. His best season might have been 2002 when he hit 39 HRs, stole 20 bases, finished with an OPS of 1.010 and a WAR of 6.8. He was an all-star from 99-02 as an Expo, was part of the 30-30 Club in 2001-2002 (30 Homeruns and 30 Stolen bases) and he won 4 silver sluggers with the team from 99-02. Had Barry Bonds and Sosa and Mcgwire not been hitting so many homeruns I am sure Guerrero would have won the MVP as an Expo, he did as an Angel in 2004.
Had these were 3 great outfielders all been together at the same time the Expos could have been an offensive juggernaut. But they aren’t the only great Expos outfielders of the Era, there were many more and these players deserve their Honorable Mentions: Tim Raines, Moises Alou, Wil Cordero, Cliff Floyd, Henry (O Henry) Rodriguez, Marquis Grissom, FP Santangelo and Brad Wilkerson. I wanted to pick a 4th outfielder, but it was too hard these guys all deserve to be there! Next up will be the pitching and the roster set-up so check back soon for the next article!
Remember Baseball Season Starts March 31st at 8 with the Astros vs. Rangers!
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