e1968: Major League Baseball goes international as it announces it will expand north of the Border to Montreal for the 1969 season. Montreal, the largest city in Canada, had a rich history with Minor League Baseball, including the Dodgers farm club, the Montreal Royals that Jackie Robinson played for in 1946. Business executive Charles Bronfman of the Seagram’s distilling empire owned the new team, which was called the Expos.
1969: On April 8th, the Expos beat the New York Mets in their first game ever at Shea Stadium 11-10. Six days later, in the first Major League game played in Canada, the Expos win their home opener at Parc Jarry against the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7, thanks to Mack Jones, who hit a three-run home run. Just three days after the Home Opener, the Expos would make history again, when Bill Stoneman No Hits the Philadelphia Phillies at Parc Jarry, making the Expos the fastest team ever to throw a No-Hitter. However, despite the early success, the Expos still suffer expansion pains and finish in last place with a 52-110 record.
1970: Before the team’s second season, Expos Manager Gene Mauch boldly predicted “70 wins in 70,” which would be quite an accomplishment for a team that only won 52 in its first season. The Expos would not only reach Mauch’s goal, but they would surpass it winning 73. Leading the way was Pitcher Carl Morton who won 18 games on the way to the Rookie of The Year award.
1971: The Expos take a slight step backward, as they finish in fifth place with a 71-90 record.
1972: The Expos post 70 wins for the third straight season finishing in fifth place with a record of 70-86.
1973: Montreal gets its first taste of pennant fever as the Expos challenge for first place in a mediocre Eastern Division. The Expos would battle down to the last week of the season before finishing three and a half games back in fourth place with a 79-83 record.
1974: The Expos once again stay close to first place in a weak division this time, finishing eighth and half games behind the NewYork Mets with a 79-82 record good enough for fourth place.
1975: Following a 75-87 season that sees them tied for the worst record in the National League East, the Expos fire Gene Mauch the first and only manger in their team’s history to that point.
1976: In their final season at Parc Jarry, the Expos suffer a disastrous 55-107 season that sees them finish dead last, as new manager Karl Kuehl does not even last the season replaced by Charlie Fox mid-way through the bad campaign.
1977: The Expos get a brand new home moving to the stadium that was used as the centerpiece for the 1976 Summer Olympics. The new stadium called Stade Olympique was significantly larger then Parc Jarry, but not as cozy. On April 15th, the Expos played their first game at “The Big O” in front of a record crowd of 57,592 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Expos would lose that game 7-2 and would finish the season with a 5th Place 75-87 record. However, with players like Rookie of the Year Andre Dawson, Warren Cromartie, Gary Carter, and Larry Parrish, it was clear to see a solid nucleus was forming.
1978: During a fourth Place 76-86 season Ross Grimsley becomes the first Expo pitcher to win 20 games in a season, a feat that has yet to been equaled by any other pitcher on the Expos.
1979: The Expos challenge for the National League Eastern Division Title until the final weekend of the season, before finishing with a franchise-best 95-65 record, while ending one game back in the loss column of the eventual World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
1980: After a successful season, Stade Olympique becomes the place to be in Canada, as popular in-game activities include soccer like sing-song chanting throughout the game as fan favorites Gary Carter and Andre Dawson became Canadian Baseball Legends. The Expos would once again challenge for the Eastern Division but would fall just short, losing the division on the final day of the season with an impressive 90-72 record.
1981: On June 15th, when the players halted the season strike, the Expos stood in third place with a 30-25 record, four games out of first. The strike would last for two months, and when the players returned, it was Expos Catcher Gary Carter who started baseball’s second half with a bang by smacking two homers in the All-Star Game played at Cleveland. The Expos would go into the second half with a new Manager Jim Fanning, and a new life as baseball decided to play a split season awarding the first players teams before and after the strike with a spot in the postseason. The Expos would battle down to the final weekend of the season again. On the last day of the season, Wallace Johnson delivered a two-run triple off New York Mets relief pitcher Neil Allen to give the Expos a 30-23 record, which allowed them to beat out the St. Louis Cardinals by a half-game to earn the second Half title. In the Eastern Division Series, the Expos would beat out the first half Champion Philadelphia Phillies in five games to advance to the first-ever International LCS, as Warren Cromartie grabs a line drive at first base at Philadelphia’s Veterans’ Stadium for the last out. The two teams battled evenly through four games setting up decisive 5th Game at Stade Olympique. On October 19th, Game 5 was played damp, gray afternoon, as in the series, the game was deadlocked into the eighth inning. Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday would blast a game Winning home run off Steve Rogers to break hearts throughout Canada in what would forever be known as “Blue Monday.”
1982: On July 13th Stade Olympique hosts the first All-Star game located outside the United States. Steve Rogers, Gary Carter, Tim Raines, and Andre Dawson are starters while Al Oliver picked a reserve. Reds’ shortstop Dave Concepcion hits a two-run home run in the second inning to spark the National League to its 11th consecutive win in the All-Star Game, 4-1. On August 4th Joel Youngblood makes history by playing a day game with New York Mets; after the game, Youngblood is dealt with the Expos and joins the team in time to play a night game in Philadelphia. The Expos would go on to finish in third place with an 86-76 record, as Al Oliver becomes the first Expos’ hitter to win a batting title with a .331 average.
1983: Under new Manager Bill Virdon, the Expos play mediocre baseball all season on the way to finishing in third place with an 82-80 record. However, they would wind up just eight games short of a Division title.
1984: Pete Rose signs to play for the Expos and collects his 4,000th career hit on April 13th at Stade Olympique. However, Rose would not finish the season in Montreal, being dealt away to his first-team the Cincinnati Reds in August, where he assumed the role of player-manager. The Expos would go on to finish in fifth place with a disappointing 78-83 record. Following the season in a move that would stun the fans of Montreal, Catcher Gary Carter is traded to the New York Mets for four players, in a move that would foreshadow future Expos stars leaving the team.
1985: Despite the loss of Gary Carter, the Expos managed to put together a solid third Place season with an 84-77 record under new skipper Buck Rogers. As a rookie, named Andres Galarraga establishes himself as the Expos’ new power source.
1986: After a fourth-place season in which the Expos finish with a 78-83 record. The Expos find themselves right in the thick of the collusion controversy as star outfielders Andre Dawson and Tim Raines enter the Free Agency market. Both would go unsigned late into the off-season past the deadline old teams had to resign their former players. The Expos would end up losing Dawson, as he signed a contract with Chicago Cubs just before the start of spring training. Raines would remain unsigned until May 1st, 1987, despite winning the batting title. With nowhere else to go, Raines would end up returning to Montreal after the Epos were allowed to negotiate with him again.
1987: Ten years after opening Stade Olympique, the Expos season began the season with a new feature, a roof. The roof, which was made to be retractable, would be a source of many problems for the franchise. The roof repeatedly broke, and would eventually lead to the Expos, making it a permanent fixture. This would hurt attendance, as Montreal residents did not like going indoors to watch a baseball game on warm summer nights, and led to a steady decline in attendance. Tim Raines, who missed the first month of the season waiting to be resigned, returned with a bang in May. Raines would lead the Expos right into the thick of the pennant race and would be impressive enough to land a spot on the All-Star team, winning the game’s MVP with an extra-inning two-run double. The Expos would get with one game of first place on September 29th, before losing a Double Header to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Expos would finish the season in third place with a solid 91-71 record.
1988: After a solid season in which the Expos were in the race until the final weeks, the Expos are never a factor in a pennant race as they finish in third place with a disappointing 81-81 record.
1989: Convinced that the team is a real contender, who needs a veteran starter, the Expos deal their top pitching prospect, Randy Johnson, to the Seattle Mariners for ace lefty Mark Langston. The trade works for a while, and the Expos are in first as late as August, but a final month collapse sees the Expos fall to fourth place with a disappointing 81-81 record. Following the season, Langston ends up signing a lucrative deal with California Angels leaving the Expos nothing to show for trading Randy Johnson. The latter would become one of the most dominant pitchers over the next decade.
1990: After failing to resign Mark Langston, the Expos are still a factor in the race for the National League East as they post an 85-77 record while finishing in third place. Following the season, the Expos would begin a period transition by dealing away Tim Raines to the Chicago White Sox.
1991: In a year of transition, new stars like Marquis Grissom and Larry Walker take over for the departed Tim Raines, as the Expos would also see a change in the dugout when Tom Runnels replaced Buck Rogers as manager. Besides, the Expos see a change at the very top when Charles Bronfman, owner of the Expos from its infancy, announces he is finished with baseball and sells the team to a group of local investors led by Claude Brochu. The season would have one bright spot during a weekend series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. On Friday, July 26th, Mark Gardiner pitches nine-inning of no-hit baseball before losing the game and the No-No in the 10th inning. There would be no stopping Dennis Martinez just two days later as he would pitch the first perfect game in Expos history. However, the season is filled with more losing than winning as a concrete pillar collapses at Stade Olympique, forcing the Expos to play the entire last month on the road. The nomadic Expos would go on to finish the season in last place with a 71-90 record.
1992: After a slow start, manager Tom Runnels is fired, and replaced by longtime Expos coach, and instructor Felipe Alou. The move would prove successful immediately as the Expos made a run for the Eastern Division title, before finishing nine games out with a solid 87-75 record. The season also saw the return of legendary Catcher Gary Carter, who returned to play his final season in the place where his career began.
1993: After falling double digits out of first place, the Expos make a late push for the National League Eastern Division Title. The Expos would take an essential series from the Philadelphia Phillies to get within two games going into the final week of the season. However, the Expos would fall three games short with an impressive 94-68 record.
1994: On June 29th, the Expos complete a sweep of the Atlanta Braves to take over the top spot in the NL East, as the Expos set a record for attendance during a mid-week series. Over the next six weeks, the Expos would establish the best record in baseball while pulling six games ahead of the Braves. By August 12th, the Expos sat in first place with a 74-40 record, playoff-bound, and well on a pace to win 100 games. However, the magical season would end right there as the players went on strike. The strike would end out whipping out the rest of the season, including the playoffs and World Series. Many would go on to speculate if the season were allowed to finish, the Expos would have made the World Series.
1995: When the players returned after an April 1st injunction, the Montreal Expos were a shell of the team that sat atop baseball in 1994. Gone were Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, and John Wetteland, this along with the disillusionment of the fans of Montreal to the sport of baseball, led to a dramatic fall-off in attendance. The fans in Montreal had their hearts ripped out by the strike and further stepped on by the dealing away of stars showed their disapproval by not going to games. The Expos would go on to finish the season in last place with a 66-78 record. The lone highlight of the season comes on June 3rd when ace pitcher Pedro Martinez pitches nine innings of perfect baseball at San Diego. However, the game would go to extra innings scoreless. The Expos would take a 1-0 lead in the tenth inning, but after Martinez allowed a leadoff double, the no-hitter was lost. Closer Mel Rojas would be brought in to finish the win.
1996: With crucial contributions from rookies from the farm system and players acquired in trades, the Expos make a surprising run for the playoffs. With Atlanta Braves secure in first place, the Expos would battle for the National League Wild Card until the final week of the season. The Expos would end up falling two games short with a solid 88-74 record. The joy was short-lived as more stars are let go following the season.
1997: Pedro Martinez has a dominant season posting a 1.90 ERA and winning the first Cy Young in Expos history. However, the team would struggle to finish in fourth place with a 78-84 record. The joy is short-lived for Expos fans as Pedro is dealt away following the season, another casualty to the Expos financial woes. During the season Owner, Claude Brochu began saying if the Expos were to remain in Montreal, they were going to need a new ballpark.
1998: With the loss of Pedro Martinez, the Expos fans felt further disillusioned and disheartened, as began talks of the team leaving Montreal. After failing to attract sufficient interest from investors for the new ballpark, Claude Brochu indicated he would be stepping aside in his efforts to lead the project and would be willing to sell his shares in the team to new ownership. Among the chaos the Expos who played most of the season outdoors as a new roof was placed on Stade Olympique, a stadium that by now had earned the nickname the “Big Owe,” since building and repairs to the stadium had pushed the cost of the building to One Billion Dollars. The Expos would go on to finish in fourth place with a 67-95 record.
1999: With doubts surrounding the club’s future, the Province of Quebec agreed to pay $100 million to absorb the interest costs of building a downtown ballpark. However, this did not suit Expos ownership well, who wanted the Government to flip the full bill for the new stadium. The Expos would go on to finish in fourth place with a 64-98 record as young outfielder Vladimir Guerrero becomes the first Expos’ player to hit 40 home runs in a season, finishing the season with a total of 42 dingers.
2000: With new ownership in place, there was optimism surrounding the club’s future, as the signed Free Agent Graeme Lloyd, and traded for high priced pitcher Hideki Irabu. However, despite their optimism, new owner Jeffrey Loria pulled the Expos off of local television and English speaking radio, further distancing the team from its disheartened fans. Meanwhile, the two off-season pickups end up becoming huge busts missing most of the season with injuries. The Expos would go on to finish in fourth place with a 67-95 record.
2001: The optimism surrounding new owner Jeffrey Loria is gone as he lets the lease on the land for a proposed downtown ballpark, expire. The Expos continued to be missing from the airwaves as, despite an opening day, sellout attendance continued to dwindle to a mere 6,000 per game. In the middle of the season, Expos fans were further driven away when popular manager Felipe Alou was fired and replaced by Jeff Torborg, a close friend of Loria, as the Expos would go on to finish in last place with a 64-98 record. Following the season, talks began that baseball would contract two teams. The Montreal Expos were the obvious candidate to be one of the two teams folded by Major League Baseball. While the disheartened fans of Montreal did not put up much of a fight, Politicians, and fans in Minnesota, where baseball was set to fold the Twins, was fierce. In the meantime, talk began anew that the Expos could move to Washington DC if a deal on contraction could not be reached. Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura would take Major League Baseball top court and would force them to honor the last year of the lease at the Metrodome. This would force baseball to delay contraction for at least one season, meaning the Expos had a stay of execution. However, Expos owner Jeffrey Loria had already started negotiations to buy the Florida Marlins; this would leave the Expos without an owner. Loria would go on to buy the Marlins, taking the entire Expos front office and management with him. To keep the Expos up and running, the league agreed to buy the team (with baseball’s other 29 owners footing the bill) and run it for what will likely be the team’s final season of baseball in Montreal, whether it is contracted or relocated.
2002: With talk of contraction and relocation surrounding the Expos under new Manager Frank Robinson most would have expected the Expos to sink to the bottom of the National League East. The Expos played solid baseball most of the first half as Major League Baseball who controlled the Expos purse strings allowed them to acquire Bartolo Colon form the Cleveland Indians as the Expos appeared set to make a serious run for the Wild Card. Following the All-Star break, the Expos would take on anther star as they reacquired Cliff Floyd form the Florida Marlins. The Expos would struggle and quickly fall out of the race as Floyd was dealt to the Boston Red Sox. However, the Expos would still go on to have a solid season finishing in second place with an 83-79 record. Meanwhile, baseball was to busy trying to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, meaning the Expos would remain in Montreal at least one more season, while new ownership was sought.
2003: In an attempt to bring the struggling Expos more revenue, Major League Baseball schedules the Expos to play 22 home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as baseball continued to seek new ownership and a permanent home to the lame-duck franchise. Despite continued doubts about their future, the Expos remained competitive on the field, as they challenged for the wild card all season while posting an impressive 39-20 record at Stade Olympique. However, on the road, the Expos struggled to post a terrible 31-50 record. As the season wore on the Expos extensive travel schedule created by their 22 games in Puerto Rico would have a toll as they faded out of the Wild Card race in September, finishing in fourth place with a record of 83-79. Following the season the Expos continued to remain in Montreal and in limbo, were forced to watch two more all-stars leave as they traded Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees and lost Vladimir Guerrero to Free Agency.
2004: As the Expos entered the season, MLB was stepping up efforts to find them a permanent home. Without Vladimir Guerrero, the Expos would get off to a dreadful start losing 11 of their first 13 games. The Expos would not make their Stade Olympique debut until April 23rd as they even struggled to draw fans’ first nine home games in San Juan. Even in Montreal, their struggles would continue as they ended April with a terrible 5-19 record. The Expos would continue to struggle in May and June as Washington began to emerge as the favorite in the sweepstakes for the franchise. With the Expos in last place, the Expos attendance was lower than ever. In perhaps one of the most short-sighted decisions, MLB scheduled their final three games against the Toronto Blue Jays to be played in San Juan, where they drew less than 9,000 in each game, throwing away three potential big crowds in Montreal from vesting Blue Jays fans. In July, with the call up of some prospects like Terrmel Sledge, the Expos began to play better as they posted a winning record in July and August. Also developing into a star was Brad Wilkerson, who tied with Tony Batista for the team lead in Homers with 32, while Livan Hernandez led the team in wins with 11. With a chance to play spoiler, the Expos would struggle in September as their days dwindled, posting a 9-18 record. On September 29th, hours before their final home game, a press conference would be held in Washington, announcing the move. That night a season-high 31,395 fans came out to the Big O to say goodbye as the Expos lost to the Florida Marlins 9-1. Four days later the Expos would play their final game in the place where it all began 35 years earlier Shea Stadium as the Expos lost to the New York Mets 8-1, with Endy Chavez grounded out to the second base for the final out, as the Expos finished in last place with a record of 67-95.
2005-Present: During the winter that followed the Expos’ final season in Montreal, the move to Washington appeared in jeopardy after the DC City Council held up the bill that would give the money to renovate RFK Stadium and build a new downtown ballpark. Back in Montreal, even amid a winter without hockey, Montreal said they did not want baseball back even if they were asked. With the city jilted over the last ten years of star players being dealt away and a perception that MLB wanted to destroy the franchise. Wounds would heal, and a decade after the Expos left, the Toronto Blue Jays began playing exhibition games in Montreal. This has sparked renewed interest in bringing baseball back to Montreal.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the Montreal Expos or Major League Baseball. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on March 1, 2001. Last updated on May 11, 2020, at 4:40 pm ET.