Ryan Zimmerman has been the face of the Nationals since their inaugural year in 2005. You can’t say the name without thinking about Zimmerman in some way, shape or form. Whether it be as a fresh-faced young third baseman, a Rookie of the Year runner-up, a Silver Slugger and Gold Glover, the humanitarian, the seasoned vet or the king of walk-offs, Zimmerman’s fingerprints are all over this team. And his greatness on the field isn’t just contained to Washington history, but it stretches over into franchise greatness as well. The Nationals began as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and Zimmerman is all over the franchise leaderboards.
Zimmerman leads the franchise in many offensive categories. He is No. 1 in the Expos/ Nationals franchise in hits (1,707), doubles (381), home runs (260), RBIs (972), extra-base hits (660), total bases (2912) and number of pitches seen (26,746). Most of the other occupants of the top 10 of all these leaderboards are Expos; no other National can even compare.
So how many more records can Zimmerman topple? Well, if he can stick around and keep producing, the answer is: a lot. If he simply plays in games and gets at-bats, he has a good chance at a number of records. He is currently second in games played (1,601) to Tim Wallach (1,767) and would need just over a full season’s worth of games to catch him. He is second in at-bats (6,106) to Wallach (6,529), and second in plate appearances (6,777), also to Wallach (7,174). He is second in number of times on base (2,336) to Tim Raines (2,440). Simply playing will likely get him to the top of these categories.
Zimmerman is very close to taking the lead in runs scored; he is currently second (900) to Raines (947), and 47 is a very catchable number. Zimmerman is third in singles (1,044), trailing both Wallach (1,099) and Raines (1,163). Wallach should be easy to overtake, and Raines shouldn’t be that much of a stretch.
The big gamble is the record for bases on balls. Zimmerman is currently second on the leaderboard with 598, but the leader, Raines has 793. Unless Zimmerman becomes a walk machine, it’s unlikely he’ll get 195 more walks, so he’ll likely have to settle for second, though he can take pride in closing the gap before it’s said and done.
What Zimmerman has been able to do with this team and franchise is great, and it likely won’t happen again. Fairly consistent production over a lengthy career - all with the same team - doesn’t happen very often. If Zimmerman keeps his health up and keeps the production consistent, he’ll keep playing. The reigning National League Player of the Week has proved that he can still torch the league and be helpful to his team.
It’s unknown how many more years Zimmerman can go, but enjoy it while you can. Remember the walk-offs, the excitement, the hometown guy (yes, I count Virginia Beach as fairly local) who has been and always will be the heart of this team, who has spent his entire 14-year career giving it all to them. When it’s all said and done, No. 11 should never be worn again on a Nationals uniform, and should be hanging on the façade of Nationals Park.
Liz Barr blogs about the Nationals for The Nats Blog. Follow her on Twitter: @RaiseTheBarr1. Her opinions on the Nationals will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.