I am fascinated by former Nationals players. It might be the fact that we have so many players who have ended their not-so-illustrious careers with our humble ballclub (http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/from-natstown-to-oblivion-revisited.html). It might also be that we have so many "cup-of-coffee" players who have gotten 10 ABs or less. I love bringing up obscure names in conversation with other residents of NatsTown. Maybe it's my subtle way to gauge other people's degrees of Nats Fandom. In any case, when Joe asked me to write for this blog, I wanted to focus on some of the more quirky aspects of baseball, and for me this is it.
This is going to be a once-a-week recurring series where I focus on former Nats greats. This will be different from the "Where are they now?" feature because I will solely focus on their time spent wearing the Nats uniform (READ: not Expos). Be prepared to re-live some (not so) amazing memories.
To kick off this new series, who better than the player who has so many firsts for the fledgling Nats. Drumroll please......
Lets start with the raw stats.
Sledge played a whopping 20 games in 2005 with a grand total of 37 AB , while garnering only 8 RBI. He had 9 hits, 0 doubles, 1 triple, and a very magical home run. For those who don't remember, Sledge hit the first home run in Nationals history. It was in the 6th inning on Opening Day (April 4, 2005) against Phillies Opening Day starter Jon Lieber (!?!?!?!). Termel also has the 1st RBI in Nationals history, an RBI ground-out in the 2nd inning of the same game, knocking in Nick Johnson to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead.
That was the beginning of his short-lived Nationals tenure. He would only have one other game where he had more than 1 RBI, that game was April 13th during an 11-4 victory over the Braves. Sledge, who came in as a pinch hitter for Luis Ayala in the 9th, hit a 3 RBI bases-clearing triple to put the game out of reach.
Sledge's career as a Nat ended on May 2nd with a 1 for 2 performance that had him taken out early in the 6th inning with a right hamstring "pull". I say pull only because he didn't again suit up for the home team.
As you may remember, he was traded to the Rangers (along with Brad Wilkerson and Jim-Joyce's-Best-Friend Armando Galarraga) for Alfonso Soriano.
Happy trails to you, Termel Sledge. I will continue to proudly wear your Sledge #18 Nats Shirt for eternity!