Expos 8, Cardinals 7
April 14, 2014 2:21 PM   Subscribe

45 years ago today at Montreal's Jarry Park, outfielder Mack "The Knife" Jones hit a 3-run homer and a 2-run triple to lead his Montreal Expos to an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first Major League baseball game ever played outside the US (home opener coverage starts at 4:28 of the CBC video).

Jones' homer also stands in the record books as the first outside of the USA.

Sadly, Mack Jones died in 2004 at his Atlanta home, the same year the Expos left Montreal to become the Washington Nationals. Even the ball diamond at Jarry Park is no more, having been converted to the Stade Uniprix Tennis Stadium.
posted by rocket88 (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I remember going to see the Expos play in the never finished Olympic Stadium with my Grandpapa. We were in the nosebleeds and those aisle stairs were like a mountain climb up and a terrifyingly steep walk down. My memory says you could fall all the way down practically on to the field.

Also Gary Carter's perm and his batting ritual that my mom called "fixing his bra straps", Tim Raines stealing bases headfirst to protect his bags of coke and Andre Dawson loping around on stilts somehow gracefully. Good times.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Just the other day I remembered watching the Expos' 5th anniversary celebration on TV and wondered how long ago it was. They wheeled a giant cake in the shape of a 5 out on the field before a game. I'm kind of shocked to learn it's been 40 years.
posted by davebush at 3:06 PM on April 14, 2014

Jones was the second player picked by the Expos in the expansion draft, after Manny Mota.

I remember being fascinated by that process as a kid, wondering who the Cardinals would protect in the draft, and which bench players, prospects, has-beens and/or just undervalued guys from around the league would go where.

The Expos wound up with kind of an interesting collection of characters, although their best player in those early years, Rusty Staub, was acquired by trade after the draft. Their red, white & blue uniforms seemed kind of cool to kid-me, too.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:48 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If only the Expos had succeeded in getting their smaller venue, it worked wonders for the Montreal Allouettes.

My memories are a mix of getting cheapie seats and then upgrading to $125 by simply walking up since the arena was rarely more than 1/3 full, of polishing jeeps and minivans in the Chrysler section of the auto show each January while I was in CEGEP, and of rappelling 300 ft from the ceiling of the Olympic stadium with the army after climbing out of one of the hollow ribs of the UFO shaped arena.
posted by furtive at 3:51 PM on April 14, 2014

This is as good a place to put this as any, Montreal Canadiens pay tribute to Gary Carter.

Backstory: Youppi! was the mascot for the Expos, and was one of the best mascots in MLB, some say second only to the Phillie Phanatic. When the Expos moved to Washington, they ditched him for a new mascot, Screech the Eagle. Then the Canadiens adopted Youppi! as their mascot, which he has been ever since. This video is super moving for long-time sentimental Montreal sports fans.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:52 PM on April 14, 2014

Lots of rumbling about Montreal and Baseball lately - rumor is that some local interests with deep pockets are eyeing a small market team to relocate for another shot at the MLB.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:09 PM on April 14, 2014

Going to Jarry to watch the Expos is a sweet memory. Tiny open-air park. The Big O, by comparison, was horrible. It always smelled of carpet glue and melting plastic.
posted by Jode at 4:17 PM on April 14, 2014

Expos vs. Cardinals was my very first ballgame experience. My dad took me to Busch Stadium. Sweet, sweet memory.
posted by Superplin at 6:20 PM on April 14, 2014

I loved my time at the Big Owe, terrible as that place was for baseball. Room to spread out, empty seats to slam with your feet as a cheer, a certain comraderie with the other regulars, passing the time by building beeramids of 50 against the glass panels and watching a ball game. Even in those late days, there was some great talent there, all destined for the annual winter fire sale and greener pastures. But boy, did they play hard in Montreal to earn their ticket...

There's talk of baseball coming back, but... Yeah. I can't get my hopes up. When nos amours were stolen, my heart was simply broken. I would love for them to return but I just don't have it in me to be crushed again like that. It was too much. And you can never go back.

Still, those were some great times, and I miss them terribly.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

best. uniforms. ever.
even better than the 70's Astros. That good.
posted by not_on_display at 8:52 PM on April 14, 2014

Last month saw the release of "Up, Up, and Away", by Jonah Keri, baseball writer for Grantland and passionate Expos fan. I'm reading it right now and it's a riot. (Sorry for the lack of links)

It includes good details about the lead up to that first game. The City of Montreal basically took a public baseball diamond and turned it into a Major League facility (only sorta, the general consensus is it was a minor league park in every sense except for the teams that played there) in three months.
posted by dry white toast at 9:08 PM on April 14, 2014

My wife & I honeymooned in Quebec, and one day in Montreal when rain canceled our original plans, I suggested we go see the Expos. (Yeah, I was thinking about baseball on my honeymoon.) Ever since I was a kid collecting baseball cards, I'd always wondered what a baseball game was like in French. We got to to the stadium, and it was a lot more crowded than I'd expected for a day game. Some of the ticket window lines were longer than others, so we tried one of the shorter ones and bought our $16 tickets.

It wasn't until after that that we realized the crowds, and varying lines, were because some windows were selling special $4 Fan Appreciation tickets that we hadn't noticed because our French was lame. We decided to think of it as our donation to a Save the Expos Fund. Even with the influx, the stadium was fairly empty, so I guess we got a realistic Expos experience.

The highlight of the game, and of my baseball-in-French quest, came when an Expo hit a bases-loaded home run. As I wondered how they term "grand slam" might translate, the scoreboard flashed "Grand Chelem!".
posted by NumberSix at 9:18 PM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

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