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Remembering the career of Gio Gonzalez, who helped build the Washington Nationals into champions

Washington Nationals fans should tip their caps to Gio Gonzalez, the one-time ace of the pitching staff, who helped put Washington on the map as a perennial contender and was a steady presence for seven seasons. The 35-year-old has announced this week he is retiring after a 13-year major league career.

On any list of landmark dates in the history of the Washington Nationals, Dec. 23, 2011 should be right up there. It’s the day Mike Rizzo obtained Gonzalez, coming off an All-Star season, for A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, and Brad Peacock. Never mind that Peacock would help Houston win three American League pennants and a World Series.