With the Toronto Blue Jays in town next week for an annual preseason series, folks in Montreal — including the group seeking the return of MLB to the city — are planning a celebration of the original Montreal Expos, who entered the National League in 1969.
According to a press release issued by Charles and Stephen Bronfman, part of the group working on a new-ballpark plan in the hopes of bringing back MLB, several activities over the next few days will highlight the baseball celebrations in Montreal and Quebec and the Expos’ 50th anniversary. Events dedicated to young players and coaches and marking the 50th anniversary of Baseball Québec will be held at Olympic Stadium on March 22 and 23, with the collaboration of the Baseball Academy of Canada.
The Expos Fest Celebrity Gala “50th Anniversary” is set for March 24, with the participation of ten former Expos, including members of the original team. The former Expos will also be invited to Montréal City Hall the following day for the signing of the guestbook.
At the games to be played at Olympic Stadium on March 25 and 26, baseball and Expos fans will get the chance to admire many items related to the history of the Expos–baseball bats, jerseys and balls as well as other memorabilia of several favorite players–and relive the great moments in the story of the Montreal Expos.
Many former Expos will participate in autograph signing sessions before each of the two games, including Ross Grimsley, Tim Burke, Dennis Martinez and Claude Raymond on March 25, and Mike Fitzgerald, Steve Renko, Coco Laboy, Javy Vasquez and Denis Boucher on March 26. Rusty Staub and several former Expos will also be the subject of special tribute ceremonies during games.
“The Expos started their first season in the spring of 1969 at Jarry Park. All these celebrations, over the coming days and months, will let us relive the greatest moments in the Expos’ history and once again demonstrate our passion and our collective commitment to this great sport and unique team. My Dad and I are deeply touched by all these gestures of gratitude, and we sincerely thank all Expos supporters, baseball fans, the people of Montréal and Quebec, the various governments, as well as all the organizers of these activities for their backing and encouragement, and all their tireless efforts in bringing baseball back to Montreal,” said Stephen Bronfman via press release.
Jarry Park Stadium, of course, is shown in the picture at the top of this page, complete with a view of La piscine de Willie. Read more about Jarry Park in our series covering 1969 expansion and the four ballparks that entered the National and American Leagues.
The annual Blue Jays games at Olympic Stadium are huge events: huge crowds descend on the last home of the Expos to celebrate Montreal baseball history and Nos Amours. Our Zach Spedden attended in 2017; you can read his story here. You can find ticket information here.
Photos of Jarry Park Stadium in 1969 courtesy City of Montreal. Photo of Olympic Stadium by Zach Spedden.
RELATED STORIES: Ballparks That Live On: Jarry Park Stadium; Jarry Park / Montreal Expos / 1969-1976; Site Emerging for New Montreal MLB Ballpark; Report: Support High for MLB’s Return to Montreal; Quebec’s Main Parties Open to Partnering on New Montreal Ballpark; Montreal Official: Olympic Stadium Roof Won’t Affect MLB Pursuit; Fans Optimistic on MLB’s Return on Montreal; Montreal MLB Backers to Survey Fans on New Ballpark; Montreal Mayor: “We’re In” on Return of MLB; Montreal MLB Investors, Mayor to Meet Friday; Bronfman: Montreal’s Help Needed For New Ballpark; Official Calls for Montreal Ballpark Referendum in 2021; Montreal Ballpark Renderings Released; Manfred: MLB Continues to Wait on Expansion; No, Montreal’s Return to MLB is NOT Imminent; Rays Connected to Montreal Move; Manfred Reinforces Montreal as Expansion Option; April Exhibitions Fuel Talk of Montreal MLB; Manfred to Montreal: Here’s your roadmap to MLB; Manfred: Montreal needs ballpark plan to lure MLB; Manfred: Montreal viable MLB market; Montreal may be looking good to Sternberg these days; Montreal preps for return of MLB; Carter to be honored; Should Montreal pursue MLB?; Could MLB really return to Montreal sooner than later?; Support for return of MLB Montreal strong: poll; MLB temporarily returns to Montreal; Cromartie: We’re launching feasibility study on return of MLB to Montreal; Cromartie laying groundwork for return of MLB to Montreal; Conference board: Montreal can support MLB; More MLB dreams in Montreal; Montreal capable of supporting MLB — if there’s an owner with deep pockets