WASHINGTON - The Nationals team of 2019 will be – no matter what happens in the future – remembered fondly by baseball fans in the Washington region.
But that World Series winner was also significant to area alums and followers of the University of Virginia and ODU.
The 2019 champions had three products of Virginia colleges on the World Series roster: former Virginia Cavalier teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle, and ODU product Daniel Hudson.
Zimmerman was born in North Carolina and grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia while Doolittle came to Charlottesville from New Jersey.
Hudson was born in Lynchburg and went to Princess Anne High in Virginia Beach before staying near home for college in Norfolk.
With that in mind, here is a look at other products of the DMV to play for the Nationals since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005:
Infielder Steve Lombardozzi:
The switch-hitter grew up in Fulton, Maryland and went to Atholton High in Columbia.
He was drafted out of St. Petersburg Junior College by the Nationals in the 19th round in 2008 and played for Washington for parts of the 2011-13 seasons.
Lombo, a fan favorite, played for the Orioles in 2014, the Pirates in 2015, and then appeared in two games for the Marlins in 2017 to end his MLB career. He played for Long Island in the indy Atlantic League in 2019.
His father, also Steve, was an infielder for the Minnesota Twins on their World Series team in 1987.
Infielder Emmanuel Burriss:
The native of D.C. played in just five games for the Nationals in 2015 after beginning his career with the Giants.
He went to Wilson High in northwest Washington and then played in college at Kent of Ohio.
Burriss was drafted by the Giants in 2006 and when he made his MLB debut two years later, he was the first product of a public D.C. high school to make the majors since Willie Royster (Spingarn High) of the Baltimore Orioles in 1981.
Royster was born in Clarksville in southern Virginia before he moved to Washington. He was drafted in 1972 out of Spingarn by the Orioles; he also attended Howard University and died in New Jersey in 2015 at the age of 61.
Burriss played for Triple-A Syracuse in 2014-15 in the Washington system and ended his MLB career with the Phillies in 2016.
In 2017, he received a 50-game suspension for violating the MLB drug policy.
He played in a Dominican winter league in 2018-19, according to baseball-reference.com.
Pitcher Mike O’Connor:
Left-handed pitcher Mike O’Connor was a draft pick by the Montreal Expos in the 7th Round in 2002 who debuted for the Nationals in 2006 and made 26 appearances (21 starts) over a couple seasons in D.C. in ‘06 and ‘08.
Born in Dallas, TX in 1980, O’Connor attended Mount St. Joseph’s High School in Baltimore, MD, before going to college at George Washington University in D.C.
In June of 2009, O’Connor was traded to the San Diego Padres, but he was released just a month later, and he signed on with the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets (for whom he did pitch in the majors in 2011), Yankees, and finally the Minnesota Twins before his playing days ended in 2013.
Pitcher Bill Bray:
Bray was born in Virginia Beach and went to Ocean Lakes High in the same city. The lefty was drafted in the first round by Montreal out of William & Mary in 2004.
Two years later he made his MLB debut with the Nationals, in June, then on July 13, 2006 he was part of a big trade between the Reds and Nationals.
Washington sent Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, Gary Majewski, and Daryl Thompson to the Reds for Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Wagner.
Bray pitched for the Reds through the 2012 season then signed as a free agent with the Nationals after that – but he never appeared in another Major League game.
He pitched in 19 games for the Nationals in 2006 out of the bullpen.
Thompson grew up in southern Maryland and was drafted by the Expos out of high school at La Plata in the eighth round in 2003.
He never pitched for Washington but did appear in four games for the Reds from 2008 to 2011.
Thompson pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2019 and is among the all-time leaders in several pitching categories in the independent Atlantic League.
Infielder Brendan Harris:
Harris, an infielder, was born in New York but like Bray played in college for the Tribe of William & Mary. He was a fifth-round pick in 2001 by the Cubs out of college.
Harris played briefly for the Nationals in 2005 and 2006 and ended his career with the Angels in 2013.
Outfielder Justin Maxwell:
Maxwell went to Sherwood High in Montgomery County and then played for the Terps of the University of Maryland.
He was drafted out of high school by the Orioles but turned that down to play in college.
Maxwell was drafted in 2005 by the Nationals out of Maryland and then was called up to the majors at the end of the 2007 season. He hit a grand slam for his first homer in the majors in his fourth game, at Miami on Sept. 11, 2007, and saw action with the Nationals again for part of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
Maxwell played for Houston in 2012 and ended his Major League career with the Giants three years later.
Infielder Daniel Murphy:
Murphy is from Florida but played in the Valley Baseball League of Virginia for Luray during his time in college at Jacksonville.
He broke in with the Mets then signed as a free agent with Washington after starring in the 2015 World Series for New York.
He led the league in doubles and OPS at .985 in 2016 and also led the National League in doubles in 2017 with 43.
He was traded to the Cubs during the 2018 season by the Nationals. Murphy played this past season the Rockies.
Murphy hit .347 and .322 in his two full seasons with the Nationals.
First baseman/outfielder Clint Robinson:
Robinson played in the Valley League for the Harrisonburg Turks while in college at Troy of Alabama.
The left-handed-hitting first baseman/outfielder broke in with the Royals in 2012 and then played two years later for the Dodgers. Robinson saw a lot of time for the Nationals in 2015 and 2016 but never appeared in another Major League game after playing for Washington.
Robinson split time at first base with Zimmerman for part of his tenure in Washington.
For good measure, former Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland played college baseball at Frostburg in western Maryland.
Infielder Mark Reynolds:
The native of Kentucky grew up in the Tidewater region and went to First Colonial High in Virginia Beach.
He was teammates with Zimmerman at Virginia and was drafted by Arizona in 2004 out of college.
The veteran right-handed hitter broke into the majors with the D-backs in 2007 and ended up in Washington near the end of his career, in 2018. He hit 13 homers in just 86 games that year for Dave Martinez, with 10 RBI in one game against the Marlins.
Reynolds ended his MLB career with Colorado in 2019.
Infielder Chad Tracy:
Tracy played for the Staunton Braves in the Valley Baseball League in 1999 while he was in college at East Carolina.
He was drafted in the seventh round by Arizona in 2001 and broke into the majors three years later with the D-backs.
The lefty hitter batted .269 in 73 games with the Nationals in 2012 and ended his MLB career in 2013 by hitting .202 in 92 games.
Infielder Brian Dozier:
A member of the 2019 World Series team, Dozier played in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League – with teams in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. – while he was in college at the University of Southern Mississippi.
He made his MLB debut with the Twins in 2012 and was with them before he was traded to the Dodgers during the 2018 season. Dozier signed with the Nationals after that and hit 20 homers in 135 games with the Nationals in 2019. He played in seven games with the Mets in 2020.
Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon:
Papelbon was at Mississippi State from 2001-03, played with Arlington Senators and Silver Spring/Takoma Thunderbolts in the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League in summer of 2000. He was with the Nats in 2015-16 and of course that didn’t end well as he became known as the D.C. Strangler after he went after Bryce Harper in the dugout late in the 2016 campaign.