Nats Baseball: the Significance of ‘9’ and other talismans

The Nationals field is readied before the home opener between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves on Friday, April 4. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON –Baseball is a game of numbers, statistics and superstition.

People who believe in such things as signs and omens may feel safe predicting an amazing year for the Washington Nationals.

The number nine, for example, is connected to several numerical and historical coincidences suggesting the Nats could go all the way:

  • 9 decades since Washington’s last World Series win in 1924.
  • 9X9 = 81 years since D.C. won a league pennant in 1933.
  • 9 is the number Manager Matt Williams wears on his jersey.
  • 9 years between hires of successful rookie managers.

    Young managers are also considered good luck for Washington baseball. Matt Williams, a rookie manager, is hoping to carry on the tradition.

    Fred Frommer, author of You Gotta Have a Heart, says young managers are “a bit of a chance to take with the team,” but the old Washington Senators took that chance twice. In fact, rookie managers helped Washington baseball achieve its greatest victories.

    “Bucky Harris in 1924 was a player manager who had no experience and led the team to its only World Championship and a pennant the following year,” said Frommer.

    Then nine years (there’s that number again) after hiring Bucky Harris, Washington turned to another rookie manager.

    In 1933 Manager Joe Cronin won the pennant. “Unfortunately the team lost the World Series and hasn’t been back since,” says Frommer.

    Washington baseball fans also may be excited to learn a World Series win is in Manager Matt Williams’ blood.

    The only year Washington won a World Series in 1924, Bert Griffith played for the team. Bert Griffith is Matt Williams’ grandfather.

    All that leaves Frommer saying, “I think this could be the year they win that first World Series in almost a century.”

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