Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Expos’

Rounding third and headed for home!

Wow, what an incredible two weeks it's been, Montreal! We began this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the inaugural season of the Expos, and today we suddenly find ourselves as close as ever to bringing baseball back to the city.

To have the green light from Major League Baseball and the owners to explore the possibility of Montreal hosting a team in tandem with the city of Tampa speaks volumes about the diligence and the quality of the effort put forth so far. It is an idea that is both innovative and exciting, with significant potential to revolutionize professional sports and the economics associated with it.

I have always said that Montreal is a Major League city, and these developments of the last two weeks demonstrate how unquestionable Montreal's place is in the baseball world. For our group and the city of Montreal to have been entrusted to pursue this opportunity is of immense pride and importance to us.

There are still hurdles to overcome, and many details to be sorted out, given the novelty of the idea, but it is nonetheless a very positive development. There are already established links between the two markets and this will open up tremendous new opportunities on so many levels. But whether it is playing 20 games, 40 games, or a full season in the city, Montreal is ready.

We now have baseball games being played in places like Mexico and London, and to have an established presence in a recognized international city like Montreal is accelerating the process of reaching this global market. I have seen for myself how the Expos brand has grown over the years in Japan. It is now seen in many places, and alongside the iconic franchises of baseball.

Over the last few years, Montreal has caught the eye of the baseball world, regularly being mentioned by Major League Baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and by some of the most prominent baseball writers. The fact that the Washington Nationals will be wearing Expos uniforms in a game next week is a further nod to the franchise, though I personally would have preferred that more of the team's history and iconic players like Tim Raines and Andre Dawson would be part of the commemoration.

It has been an unbelievable journey over the past seven years, and I am amazed at how this crazy idea I had of bringing baseball back to Montreal has captured the imagination of so many, and the efforts of some of its most passionate and courageous leaders, most notably Stephen Bronfman. WHEN we get our team back, we will all look back at this incredible ride and take pride in how we made it happen. Stay tuned, Montreal, there's much more to come!

Vladimir Guerrero, Hall of Famer!

The Montreal Baseball Project is very pleased by the news of the election of legendary Montreal Expos star Vladimir Guerrero to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I am happy to see Vladimir Guerrero joining the Baseball Hall of Fame," says Montreal Baseball Project founder and president Warren Cromartie. "His outstanding results in only his second year of eligibility are testament to his electrifying style of play, and to the recognition that he earned throughout his career. To have come from such humble beginnings and earn the greatest individual honor a baseball player can receive is a remarkable story.

"Vladimir's decision to enter the Hall of Fame as an Angel is an understandable one. There are many factors that a player must consider together when given such a choice, which isn't often the case, as we saw with Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. Tim Raines embraced the idea of being inducted as an Expo, as it was the most representative of his career, even though it could result in him missing out on future opportunities.

"Being the first representative of a franchise in Cooperstown is a significant milestone that comes with a unique place in history. Vladimir has the right to make this choice based on what he feels is best for his future and the various ways a team is expected to support him as a Hall of Famer. It is unfortunate that the city where he played the longest and has the most fans does not currently have a team, but I can understand his decision.

"What does not change for any of these players is the many years they spent in Montreal, and the role the organization played in their development and success. Being a product of what was widely recognized as one of the best scouting and development organizations for decades is yet another link to baseball's history that Expos fans can take pride in, as we continue to advance in our objective of bringing Major League Baseball to Montreal."

vlad hof-BRAVO


September 29 is usually a special day for me. The steady stream of phone calls, e-mails and visits I receive from friends and family have always been an enjoyable part of my birthday. But September 29, 2004 was very different. It was the last game the Expos would play in Montreal. I briefly thought about coming to Montreal for the game, but I could not stand to be there. I felt sick just thinking about it. The final score or who did what on the field didn't matter. There was nothing that could make that game better, and what I've heard from many of you who were there confirm that.

I thought of the story that marked the beginning of baseball in Montreal for many of us. When Jackie Robinson was sent to Montreal to play for the Royals in 1946, it was part of a plan to chip away at the colour barrier in baseball. If he was going to continue to be kicked off flights and openly discriminated against, it would be away from the spotlight of Major League Baseball. But in a different country where people spoke another language and looked nothing like him, the opposite happened. Montrealers opened their doors to Jackie, helped his pregnant wife with her groceries, and when the Royals won the International League championship, they chased him through the streets out of love, not hate. They chose to be positive and uplifting, when it was so easy to give in to the negativity.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals

It goes to the heart of everything the Montreal Baseball Project is doing: changing the tone of negativity surrounding baseball by giving fans and players the chance to reshape how we see the past. We knew the 1994 Expos team was good, but we didn't know how good until this year's Gala. Larry Walker's story of how the outfielders used to switch gloves and hold staring contests during games was both shocking and amusing to those who was there to hear it first.

Larry Walker (right) shares stories with Warren Cromartie and fans at MBP's 2014 gala in honour of the 1994 Montreal Expos.

Larry Walker (right) shares stories with Warren Cromartie and fans at MBP's gala in honour of the 1994 Montreal Expos, March 29, 2014.

It is why we decided to honour Expos legends Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Tim Raines, and Andres Galarraga, as well as long-time broadcaster Jacques Doucet at our Expos All-Star Gala on April 1, 2015. There are some interesting coincidences with these four. Both Staub and Dawson had memorable careers while wearing number 10 with the Expos. Tim Raines was the last Expos player to have his jersey retired, the number 30, while the Gala will mark the 30th anniversary since Andres Galarraga began his career in Montreal. Having these icons share experiences together and shed new light on moments we all remember will mark another shift in how we understand the story of the Expos that is a part of all of us.

MBP's Expos All-Star Gala: April 1, 2015

On April 1, 2015, Montreal Baseball Project will honour Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Tim Raines, Andres Galarraga, and Jacques Doucet at our Expos All-Star Gala. For more information, please visit our EVENTS page.

Monday September 29, 2014 is another opportunity for us to redefine history and counter the negativity behind every doubt about what we are doing. Let’s all wear our Expos colours with pride that day. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, share it with the hashtag #MONTRÉALBASEBALL. Whether you’re getting a friendly game going on your local baseball diamond or simply taking a stroll in your neighbourhood, let’s create a wave of Expos gear for all to see. Let it be known that baseball is as alive as ever in the city, and if there is someone who should question their understanding of the past or what Montreal is capable of, it isn’t us.

Montreal Baseball Project Update

It has a been a busy few weeks for MBP, which included several key meetings to plan for the months ahead. We are pleased to announce that we are in the process of putting together a detailed plan for Major League Baseball, according to their established standards. This includes details about financing, operations and the rendering of a facility. We hope to make another statement about our progress in March, as the beginning of the baseball season is the ideal time for us to be sure we are in the spotlight and remain there. We must continue to be patient and do what we can behind the scenes to ensure Montreal is at the forefront when a decision about a franchise relocation or expansion is to be made.

Montreal Baseball Project’s 2015 Gala: Celebrate Montreal’s baseball history, celebrate Nos Amours!

As the baseball season winds down, many are looking back at the year and charting a course for the future. 2014 has been an incredible year for baseball in Montreal, marked by the electrifying atmosphere at the Big O this spring for two pre-season baseball games, and the celebration of our 1994 Expos. For us, 2015 looks to be a year where we build on the successes of the past, and it begins with our Gala.

Each of MBP's Galas in the past has given players the opportunity to relive their favourite memories as they saw them, and for fans to take it all in firsthand. They have given us pivotal moments in redefining how we see baseball in Montreal and have lit up the path in front of us today.

Montreal Baseball Project's 2015 Gala promises to continue that tradition. It will take place on Wednesday, April 1, 7 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Montreal. We will honour five beloved members of the Expos family: Andres Galarraga, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub and Jacques Doucet. Each represents an integral part of the Expos’ legacy, with deep ties that extend off the diamond and to the city itself.

2015 will mark the 30th anniversary of Andres Galarraga’s debut as an Expo, and the start of a memorable career in which he consistently ranked among the best first basemen in baseball. He is also a man with strong links to Montreal, being the father of two daughters who were born here.

Andres Galarraga

Andres Galarraga

Tim Raines is regarded as one of the best leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history. This alone makes a strong case for him to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the last Expos player to have his number retired, and was there for many key moments, including as a member of the coaching staff for the team's last game.

Tim Raines

Tim Raines

Andre Dawson was the author of an illustrious career and one of the first homegrown stars of the Expos organization. His unrivalled work ethic inspired many of his teammates and helped him overcome one challenge after another, to eventually place him among the legends in Cooperstown.

Andre Dawson

Andre Dawson

Rusty Staub is synonymous with the early days of the Expos. He was a six-time All-Star and the city's first MLB superstar, a man who became a hero to legions of fans not only in Montreal, but all across Quebec and Canada.

Rusty Staub

Rusty Staub

As a journalist and broadcaster, Jacques Doucet lived through every moment in the history of the Expos and was instrumental in bringing the game to life for millions of French-speaking baseball fans over the years. His longevity and unique contribution to the game have consistently put him on the verge of entering the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.

Jacques Doucet

Jacques Doucet

We can't wait to see these legends together, as we take yet another bold step towards our ultimate dream of making Montreal a Major League city again. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 12  on our events page. For more information, please write to hope to see you there!

What We Talk About When We Talk About 1994

This piece appeared in the souvenir program for Montreal Baseball Project's gala dinner marking the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Expos, March 29, 2014.

What We Talk About When We Talk About 1994

By Mark Paterson

Nineteen ninety-four. For a Montreal Expos fan, there may be no more evocative term. It only takes one second to say it, two seconds to write it down, but to do either is to conjure an array of memories and emotions that last a lifetime. How can one season stand for so much? For everything that came before it, for everything that came after, and, most importantly, for what occurred on the field that year, 1994 was the Montreal Expos’ finest hour.

Not only were the 1994 Expos stacked with talent, they were stacked with young talent. Very young talent. From its solid starting rotation to its impressive bullpen to its dynamic offense, the roster’s average age was merely 26, the youngest in the Majors. The team had power, the team had speed, the team had arms – on the mound and in the field – but, perhaps even more significantly, the team was going to get even better.

This abundance of youth was balanced by the wisdom, experience, and craft of manager Felipe Alou. Alou had been at the helm of the club since May 22, 1992, when he became the Majors’ first Dominican manager after a long Major League playing career and many years as a minor league manager and a coach at various levels in the Expos’ organization. Alou’s arrival in the dugout marked the beginning of a renaissance for the Expos, both on the field and for the fans. Alou’s work with the 1994 team earned him the National League Manager of the Year Award. His body of work earned him the legendary status in the city of Montreal that lives on today.

At 74-40, the Expos’ record in 1994 – the best in all of baseball – is impressive enough on its own. But it’s the team’s record in June, July, and the portion of August that was played prior to the work stoppage that paints a more precise picture of dominance. Posting 46 wins and only 18 losses over their last 64 games – an astounding winning percentage of .718 – the young and powerful Expos had hit their stride. The team got its first taste of first place in the National League East on July 8 when, following a 14-0 win over the Padres in San Diego, they caught the Atlanta Braves in the standings. Montreal and Atlanta seesawed atop the East for close to two weeks, but on July 20, after the third victory of what ultimately became an eight-game winning streak, the Expos grabbed first place for good. Not only were they running away with the division, they were steamrolling their way into the playoffs and, with confidence and poise to go along with their talent, a trip to the World Series seemed inevitable. By the time the 1994 season came to its premature end, the Expos were 6 games up on the Braves and not looking back.

But looking back is what brings us here tonight, twenty years after the Montreal Expos’ finest hour, twenty years after Nos Amours posted the best record in the Major Leagues. For Expos fans, it was the moment we had waited so long for. We all know what happened next – we all hate what happened next – but why dwell there? Time has the power to heal, to trade bitterness for hope, and to teach us the moment we’d waited so long for is actually still there. Try it for yourself. Can you remember? We had it. We tasted it. We felt it. It didn’t last for as long as it should have, but it happened. The 1994 Montreal Expos were a very special team. The 1994 Montreal Expos were the best team in baseball. The 1994 Montreal Expos are still champions in our hearts.

And nobody can take that away from us.

À l'arrière/Back row: Joey Eischen, Sean Berry, Cliff Floyd, Wil Cordero, Marquis Grissom, Tim Scott, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Tim Spehr, Rondell White, Heath Haynes, Denis Boucher, Gil Heredia, Pierre Arsenault. À l'avant/Front row: John Wetteland, Ken Hill, Joe Kerrigan, Felipe Alou, Kevin Malone, Darrin Fletcher, Lou Frazier.