Gulf Coast League Nationals
The Gulf Coast League Nationals, often called the GCL Nationals, are a rookie-level Minor League Baseball team of the Gulf Coast League and an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The team plays its home games in West Palm Beach, Florida, at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Nationals previously played at Space Coast Stadium from their inaugural 2005 season through the end of the 2016 season. The team is composed mainly of players who are in their first year of professional baseball either as draftees or non-drafted free agents.
|Gulf Coast League Nationals|
Founded in 1969
(1969–1970, 1974, 1977, 1986–present)
West Palm Beach, Florida
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Gulf Coast League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Washington Nationals (2005–present)|
|Previous||Montreal Expos (1969–2004)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)|
|Division titles (7)|
|Gulf Coast League Expos (1969–1970, 1974, 1977, 1986-2004)|
|Colors||Red, white, blue|
|Ballpark||FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches (2017–present)|
|Space Coast Stadium (2005–2016)|
GCL Expos (1969–2004)
From 1969 to 2004, the team was known as the Gulf Coast League Expos (or GCL Expos) and was a minor league affiliate of the Montreal Expos. The Gulf Coast League Expos played in the Gulf Coast League from 1969 to 1970, in 1974, in 1977, and again from 1986 to 2004.
They were based in various Florida cities during these years: in Sarasota in 1969, in Bradenton in 1970, in Sarasota in 1974 and 1977, in Bradenton from 1986 to 1991, in West Palm Beach from 1992 to 1997, in Jupiter in 1998 and 1999, in Bradenton in 2000, in Jupiter in 2001, and in Melbourne from 2002 to 2004.
GCL Nationals (2005–present)
When the Montreal Expos moved from Montreal to Washington, D.C., after the conclusion of the 2004 season to become the Washington Nationals, the Gulf Coast League Expos became the Gulf Coast League Nationals, beginning play as such in the 2005 season.
In 2013, the GCL Nationals finished their regular season with a record of 49-9. This .845 winning percentage was the highest winning percentage for a full regular season ever achieved by a Minor League Baseball team based in the United States. The only minor league team to have a better winning percentage over a full regular season anywhere in the world was the Toronto Blue Jays' 1992 Dominican Summer League team based in the Dominican Republic, which finished at 68–2 with a .971 winning percentage. The Nationals then won all three of their playoff games, defeating the Gulf Coast League Pirates in a single-game semifinal playoff and sweeping the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in the best-of-three league championship series, to become the 2013 Gulf Coast League champions.
The GCL Nationals pulled off a historic feat on July 23, 2017, no-hitting the Gulf Coast League Marlins in both ends of a double-header. Four Nationals pitchers appeared in the two seven-inning games. In the first game, which the Nationals won 4–0, Joan Baez pitched six innings, striking out seven and retiring the last 14 batters he faced, and Jose Jimenez pitched the final inning. In the second game, a 1–0 Nationals win, Jaren Johnson pitched the first four innings in his seventh professional appearance and second professional start, and Gilberto Chu relieved him to finish the game with three no-hit innings.
Gulf Coast League Nationals roster
- "Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Encyclopedia and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Wagner, James (August 29, 2013). "Nationals GCL Team Sets a Minor League Record". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- "2013 Playoffs: Gulf Coast League". MiLB.com. 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- "Nationals' rookie league team pitches two no-hitters in doubleheader vs. Marlins". USA Today. July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Boor, William (July 23, 2017). "GCL Nats Throw Back-to-Back No-Nos in DH". MLB.com. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- "GCL Expos". Baseball Reference Bullpen. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "GCL Nationals". Baseball Reference Bullpen. Retrieved May 10, 2016.