Wouldn't you know that on the same weekend the relocation of the Montreal Expos moved to the forefront, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig finds himself at Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the induction of Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley.

Selig, a history buff from the time we were in grade school together (we really weren't in school together, but it sounds good), will stroll the halls of this wonderful museum, as he does every year, looking at the plaques.

There he will see:

Walter Johnson, pitcher, Washington Senators (1907-27);

Goose Goslin, outfielder, Washington Senators (1921-30, '33, '38);

Heinie Manush, outfielder, Washington Senators (1930-35);

Sam Rice, outfielder, Washington Senators (1915-33);

Joe Cronin, shortstop-manager, Washington Senators (1928-34);

Bucky Harris, second baseman-manager, Washington Senators (1919-42);

Clark Griffith, player-manager-owner, Washington Senators (1912-55).

Washington has a baseball history (not all great, I would add). But the other contenders for the Expos do not.

This history dates from the Civil War, when the game was played behind the White House, to Washington's inclusion at the inception of the American League in 1901. There was winning the World Series and a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1924, when the late Shirley Povich reported seeing a sign on the side of a Cherrydale, Va., fire truck that read "Let Cherrydale Burn." There were AL pennants in 1925 and '33. And there were decades of bad teams and frustration ("First in war, first in peace, last in the American League") before losing a rising team to Minnesota in 1960 and an expansion team to Texas in 1971.

The city also was home in the 1930s and '40s to the Negro National League's Homestead Grays, led by Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, a fact so significant one Washingtonian, Christopher R. Rehling, believes MLB ought to consider renaming the Expos after the Grays.

Selig has said often how "devastated" he was 33 years ago when as a young owner of the Milwaukee Brewers he voted to permit the late Bob Short to peddle the Senators to Texas. "It was awful," Selig said of the team leaving Washington. No team has moved since. How ironic that 33 years later Bud Selig has the power to make it right after all these years.

This week the wires were buzzing with stories from ESPN.com and MLB's very own Web site, MLB.com, plus The Post and Times, reporting that key players' union officials told the Expos this week that the leading candidates for their big move were Washington and Northern Virginia. Selig's chief deputy, Bob DuPuy, said union officials were simply giving their personal opinions and their comments carried no "imprimatur."

A day later came word that MLB is concentrating its focus on Washington, Northern Virginia (no EZPass jokes), Norfolk (no aircraft carrier jokes) and Las Vegas (no "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas Stadium" jokes), leaving Portland, Ore.; Monterrey, Mexico; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, "imprimatur" -- or out of luck. Stay tuned.

Streaking Comparisons

Lance Armstrong, 32, is on his way to winning a sixth consecutive Tour de France and establishing one of the great records in sports. Armstrong, a cancer survivor, has overwhelmed his opponents and will become the first person ever to win six of these cycling marathons.

Very excited about comparing Armstrong's accomplishments with other great athletic feats, until I saw that's what Fred Bowen did in his column in Friday's KidsPost. But because most of my readers are at least 50 years removed from that page, what the heck:

* 400 meter hurdles star Edwin Moses won 122 consecutive races from August 1977 to May 1987. He was great.

* The late Rocky Marciano, a heavyweight champion, retired 49-0 from 1947 to '55. What a slugger.

* Martina Navratilova won six straight Wimbledon titles from 1982 to '87. What focus.

* Byron Nelson won 13 consecutive PGA Tour events from March to August 1945. Other greats serving in WWII.

* Bjorn Borg won Wimbledon five straight times from 1976 to '80. Focus.

* Pete Sampras won Wimbledon from 1993 to 2000, excluding 1996. His tournament.

* Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive baseball games in 1941. Never to be broken.

* Johnny Unitas threw touchdown passes in 47 consecutive games for the Baltimore Colts. One of a kind.

* Tiger Woods won four straight major golf tournaments in 2000 and '01. Flash: Feinstein says he's in a slump.

* Chris Evert won at least one Grand Slam tournament every year for 13 years. Steady.

* Cal Ripken played in 2,632 straight baseball games for the Orioles. Never to be broken.

To be sure, some great athletes and records are missing from this list and will be included in future columns.

From Bad to Worse

* U.S. track and field continues to be a big mess, with the Athens Olympics three weeks away. The recently concluded Olympic trials were a disaster, with investigations and suspensions getting equal play with the competition. Now there are charges that Marion Jones, who won three gold medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, injected herself with banned performance-enhancing drugs during the Sydney competition. So says ex-hubby C.J. Hunter, a former shot-put champion who was banned for steroid use in 2000 and needs to visit Dr. Phil fast.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and USOC are adamant about not wanting to send athletes to Athens who might fail a drug test. Still, what happened this month in Sacramento was a disgrace. "We can do better than this," said LeRoy Walker, former president of the USOC.

* I'm no CPA, but after reading Jason La Canfora and Nunyo Demasio's story last Sunday on how the Redskins are spending about $110 million in salaries when the NFL salary cap is $80.6 million, getting even down the road for the Redskins might be tricky.

Nevertheless, Joe Gibbs begins gathering the troops at Redskins Park in the next week -- ready to go after 11 years away from the game in the NASCAR pits. I can't wait. Enough about roster bonus payments, LaVar's $6.5 million oversight and Sean Taylor's Agent of the Month.


Have a question or comment, reach me at Talkback@washpost.com. Exceptional individual performances not included in this column gladly accepted.

Pitcher Walter Johnson, shown here warming up in 1907, is lasting proof that Washington once had a baseball team.