OTD: Canadian group buys Blue Jays franchise for $7 million

On today’s date in 1976, the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League approved the purchase of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise by a Canadian group for $7 million.

In 2001, Canada Post featured the Blue Jays logo on a 47-cent multi-coloured stamp (Scott 1901) printed by Ashton-Potter Canada Ltd. on self-adhesive paper. Designed by Paul Haslip, of Toronto, the stamp depicts a special Blue Jays logo to commemorate the club’s 25th anniversary. Haslip replaced the illustrated baseball with a three-dimensional ball and rendered the words “Canada 47” to look like a player’s autograph.

The Blue Jays were established in the 1977 MLB expansion, which also included the Seattle Mariners.

In January 1976, the owner of the San Francisco Giants sold his team to a Toronto group for $13.25 million. The team would have begun play in the 1976 season at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, calling themselves the Toronto Giants; however, the plan to move the team from San Francisco to Toronto was halted by a U.S. court. Following the ruling, the Giants remained in San Francisco until the following year.

Because the city had already renovated Exhibition Stadium to accommodate an MLB team in 1976, Toronto continued the push for a franchise. The following year, it was awarded an expansion franchise along with Seattle, Wash. On March 26, 1976, a group composed of Labatt Breweries (45 per cent), Howard Webster (45 per cent) and CIBC (10 per cent) purchased the franchise rights from MLB for $7 million.

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