OTD: Montréal Expos play first game in franchise history

On today’s date in 1969, the Montréal Expos visited the former Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, for their first regular season game in franchise history.

After holding an 11-6 lead after the eight inning, the Expos eventually held on to defeat the New York Mets 11-10 in front of a crowd of 44,541 people.

Later that month, on April 14, the Expos—the first Major League Baseball (MLB) team to call a city outside the U.S. its home—played their first home game at Jarry Park Stadium in Montréal. Former prime minister Lester B. Pearson threw the first pitch of the game, which ended with the Expos earn another narrow win, this by a margin of 8-7. It was the first regular season game played in Canada and outside the U.S.

In 1977, Jarry Park Stadium was replaced with Olympic Stadium as the home ballpark of the Expos. As a part of the team’s franchise grant, a domed stadium was to be in place for the 1972 baseball season; however, due to delays in constructing Olympic Stadium, the Expos annually sought and received a waiver to remain at Jarry Park.

1976 OLYMPIC STADIUM STAMP

In 1976, as part of a series of commemorative stamps issued for the 1976 Olympics, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) released a $2 stamp depicting Olympic Stadium and velodrome (since converted to the Montréal Biodome).

The stamp (Scott #688) depicts Montréal’s Olympic site, the main element of which is Olympic Stadium, which could be converted for football as well as baseball and accommodate 70,000 spectators for the Games. To the east of the stadium is the multi-purpose velodrome, which included a 285.74-metre cycling track encircling an arena used by athletes participating in wrestling, judo, badminton, tennis and table tennis. This stamp was designed by Jean and Pierre Mercier, of Cöpilia Design.

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