The legend goes that Bill Stoneman was nervous in his first Expo start. He was part of the expansion draft, a promising Cubs pitcher who was left exposed and drafted to Canada and hoping for a chance.
In that first start on the mound for Montreal, Gene Mauch knew Stoneman was nervous, so nervous in fact he hit the first batter (a lefty) he faced that day.
In his next start, Bill Stoneman threw a no-hitter. The Montreal Expos were a dreadful team, but Stoneman won 11 games on a team that won 52. The expansion Expos had some legends, like Rusty Staub and Claude Raymond and Mack Jones, but for me Stoneman starting meant we had a chance.
His arm fell off about 1973 and he got into management. He was a smart guy and eventually rose to the GM job and stayed in high management for more than 20 years. In 1999 he became the GM of Anaheim and was GM when they won the World Series win in 2002.
Stoneman has decided to step aside as GM and is taking on a consultant’s role. This marks the 4th significant change in GMs already this off-season. Atlanta’s John Schuerholz and Minnesota’s Terry Ryan each have resigned within the past month, and St. Louis fired Walt Jocketty. This is the second incredible happening I’ve observed about MLB in the last week.
The other is the Rockies. I’m watching Colorado play in the LCS because I can’t believe their defense (unless they just started doing this about 1 week ago the Rockies infield defense is the best I’ve seen since Herzog’s Cardinals). I’m hoping the World Series goes to Colorado because of their exceptional pitching and defense. If it happens, it’ll be one for the ages.