Looking Back at 2005 Inaugural Washington Nationals

Cheryl NicholsContributor IApril 15, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14: (L-R) Nick Johnson #24 Vinny Castilla #9, Ryan Church #19 and Terrmel Sledge #19 of the Washington Nationals celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 during the Nationals home opener April 14, 2005 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane....

The Washington Nationals are now in their fifth season since moving from Montreal. Looking back, most people didn't expect much from that inaugural team and in four complete seasons, the 2005 team maintains the best record!

The 2005 Washington Nationals played 162 games during the regular season. They won 81 games, lost 81 games with a .500 winning percentage, however, in the competitive NLEast, it was only good enough for fifth place. The Nats played their home games at R.F.K. Stadium where 2,731,993 fans attended the Nationals inaugural season.

The 2005 team roster looks very different from the 2009 roster. Only Guz and NJ are still Nationals from the 2005 Opening Day roster. Jason Bergmann P was a late 2005 season call up, pitched on 8/28/2005 and remains with club, however, was recently sent to Nats AAA affiliate in Syracuse.

Ryan Zimmerman 3B was a late 2005 season call up, played his first game as a National was on 9/1/2005 and became the "face of the franchise" after Wilkerson was traded. Zimremains with club today and started at 3B on Opening Day 2009.


2005 Washington Nationals Starting Line-up on Opening Day (April 4, 2005 in Philly):

Brad Wilkerson, CF

Cristian Guzman, SS

Jose Vidro, 2B

Jose Guillen, RF

Nick Johnson, 1B

Vinny Castilla, 3B

Terrmel Sledge, LF

Brian Schneider, C

Livan Hernandez, P


Where are the other 7 players from the 4/4/2005 lineup?

Stephen Bradley Wilkerson was the "face of the franchise" before Ryan Zimmerman, however, was only in DC for the inaugural season. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1998 in the first round of amateur draft and was with the Expos/Nationals until December 2005 when Brad was part of the Alfonso Soriano trade with the Texas Rangers (along with Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge). Wilkerson spent two years with the Rangers, was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a free agent in January 2008 and then released in May of that same year, and then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in May 2008. The Boston Red Sox signed him as a free agent in February 2009 and he is currently on the Pawtucket roster (AAA Red Sox). Wilkerson secured his historic tie to the Nationals by hitting the club's first hit on opening day in Philadelphia on April 4, 2005 as well as the Nationals first cycle and this second in his career.

Jose Vidro was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 6thround of the 1992 amateur draft and played with the Expos/Nats through 2006. Vidro was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Emiliano Fruto RP (now with Arizona) and Chris Snelling RF (now with Phillies minors) in December 2006 and later released by the Mariners in August 2008. I do not believe that Vidro is currently playing baseball.

Jose Guillen was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1992 and went on to also play for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, Anaheim Angels, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. Total of 10 teams and salary range from $150,000 to his current $12M with the Royals. Guillen just went on the 15-day DL last week for an injured hip.

Vinny Castilla played baseball in Mexico and started in MLB with Braves in 1990. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies from the Braves as the 40thpick in the 1992 expansion draft. After seven seasons with the Rockies, he was traded to Tampa Bay Devil Rays, then bounced around from Houston Astros to Atlanta Braves, back to Rockies and then signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals in November 2004. Vinny hit the first Nationals home run at RFK during home opener on April 14, 2005 and was only a National for one season, but was a fan favorite. Nats traded Castilla to the San Diego Padres for Brian Lawrence and cash in November 2005 and Padres released him at the break in 2006. Rockies welcomed Castilla back in August 2006 and "retired" with Colorado at the end of that season. Castilla was the manager of Team Mexico in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Team Mexico was eliminated by Cuba in second round.

Terrmel Sledge was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 45th round of the 1998 amateur draft, but did not sign. He was then drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 8th round of the 1999 amataur draft and did sign. Seattle sent Sledge to the Montreal Expos in September 2000 as one of the "players to be named later" to complete a deal. Sledge was an Expo/National through 2005 season and will remain in the records as hitting the Nationals' first homerun (opening day in Philadelphia on April 4, 2005). Terrmelwas part of the Alfonso Soriano trade withthe Texas Rangers (along with Armando Galarraga and Brad Wilkerson). Sledge was only a Ranger for a few days and was traded to the San Diego Padres with Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Billy Killian, Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Sledge played for the Padres in 2006 and 2007 and was released after the 2007 season. Terrmel Sledge is starting his second season of playing baseball in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters (Sapporo).

Brian Schneider was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 5th round of the 1995 amateur draft and played withthe Expos/Nationals through 2007 season. Brian was a fan favorite and was traded to the New York Mets, along with Ryan Church, for Lastings Milledge. Schneider is currently the starting catcher for the Mets.

Eisler Livan Hernandez was signed by the Florida Marlins as an amateur free agent in 1996. Livanwas traded to the San Francisco Giants in July 1999 and then traded to Montreal Expos with Edwards Guzman for Jim Brower and Matt Blank in March 2003. Livanwas the Nationals 2005 Opening Day starter. Hernandez was a Nat until August 7, 2006 when he was traded with cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Matt Chico (60-Day DL) and Garrett Mock (AAA Syracuse). He became a free agent after 2007 season and was signed by Minnesota Twins in February 2008, who later released him and was selected off waivers by Colorado Rockies in August 2008. Livan Hernandez was signed a minor league contract by New York Mets and looks like he will be their 5th starter.


First of all, I forgot about some of the names on the roster. J.J. Davis? I did a little bit of research and some were tough to track down. An (*) means that I could not locate any information from a few basic searches. If you know where they are, please let us know. Thank you. Ones in bold are currently playing baseball to my knowledge.

Tony Armas Jr. SP - 2008 Mets (could not find info after last season)

Luis Ayala RP - Twins

Carlos Baerga 1B/3B - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Gary Bennett C - 2009 Dodgers

Tony Blanco 3B/OF - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Marlon Byrd OF - 2009 Rangers 4th OF

Hector Carrasco P - Finished with 2007 Angels

Jamey Carroll 2B/SS - 2009 Indians back-up 2B/SS

Matt Cepicky OF - 2006 Marlins (could not find info after last season)

Endy Chavez OF - 2009 Mariners

Ryan Church OF - 2009 Mets

Chad Cordero RP - 2009 Mariners Disabled List

Wil Cordero 1B - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Deivi Cruz 2B/SS - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

J.J. Davis OF - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Ryan Drese SP - 2009 Braves?

Joey Eischen RP - Natsthrough 2006; Done with baseball*

Zach Day SP - Twins; sent to minor league camp 3/10/2009

John Halama P - 2008 Indians AAA; still with Indians?

Jeffrey Hammonds OF - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Brandon Harris INF - 2009 Twins starting SS

Joe Horgan P - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Kenny Kelly OF - 2007 White Sox; done with baseball?

Sunny Kim P - 2007 Giants AAA; done with baseball?

Esteban Loaiza SP - Free Agent? He was with White Sox and Dodgers in 2008

Gary Majewski P - 2009 Phillies

Henry Mateo 2B - 2008 Pirates AAA; still with Pirates?

Tomo Okha P - 2009 Indians minor league contract signed December 2008

Keith Osik OF - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Antonio Osuna P - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

John Patterson SP - Retired January 2009

Jon Rauch RP - Jon stayed with the Nationals until July 2008 and is now with 2009 Diamondbacks

Rick Short 2B - Got his cup of coffee in 2005 and that was it. Played in Japan.

Junior Spivey 2B - Free agent? 2008 Red Sox AAA affiliate signed and then released after 2008 spring training

Mike Stanton P - 2007 Reds; current free agent?

T.J. Tucker P - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Claudio Vargas P - 2009 Dodgers minor league contract signed in January 2009

Brandon Watson OF - 2009 Diamondbacks; sent to their minor league camp on 3/22/2009

Matt White P - Done with baseball after 2005 season*

Preston Wilson OF - Done with baseball? Believe last team was 2007 Cardinals


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