On May 27, 1973, 41 years ago today, a group of businessmen from Washington, D.C., announced they had bought the San Diego Padres for $12 million and were relocating the team to the nation’s capital for the 1974 season.
The move was thought to be such a done deal that Topps began printing its 1974 Padres baseball cards with the team name “Washington Nat’l Lea.” The blog Ghosts of DC even has a photo of pitcher Dave Freisleben in a prototype Washington road uniform, an ugly light blue polyester pullover with red and blue trim.
But the team never moved. The City of San Diego filed lawsuits, outgoing owner C. Arnholt Smith needed to complete the deal and retired McDonald’s chief executive officer Ray Krok stepped up with the cash and kept the Friars in San Diego.
DC had to wait 30 more years but its well worth it now. For the last 3 years the Nationals have outdrawn the Orioles. Looks pretty good that they will win the National League East.