Remembering the Montreal Expos with a new documentary

The year was 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, 350,000 people converged at the first Woodstock Music Festival, the Beatles recorded their final album together, Sesame Street debuted, and the first Pontiac Trans AM Firebird rolled off the assembly line. It was also a big year for the sport of baseball in North America

1969 saw Canada get its first Major League Baseball team – the Montreal Expos. This marked the first time that a major league team expanded outside of the United States and baseball fans across the country were excited to see professional baseball closer to home. At first, the Expos played at Jarry Park Stadium before moving to Olympic Stadium in 1977, one year after the stadium hosted the 1976 Olympic summer games. Over 57 thousand fans attended opening day for the Expos at “the big O.” The first ten years for the team were tough for the new franchise, but soon they became one of the top teams of the 1980’s.

(Pictured: Matt Stairs (right) with Cody Glydon. Stairs started his baseball career with the Expos in 1992)

The Expos won their first division title in 1981 and Charlie Lea pitched the franchise’s third no hitter game that year, beating the Giants 4-0. From 1979 to 1983, the Expos were the team to beat in the NL east because they had the most wins of any team those years even though they’d only get one post-season appearance. The 1994 MLB players strike was tough on the Expos and attendance started to dwindle starting in 1995. Sadly, the team played their final season in Montreal in 2004 before relocating to Washington D.C.. The Expos would end their nearly 36 year run with a record of 2755 wins and 2943 losses.

The Expos played their last home game on September 29th, 2004 in front of nearly 32,000 fans. Unfortunately, they fell 9-1 to the Florida Marlins that night, but it still remains one of the most emotional games for Expos fans and baseball fans as a whole. One person stated it felt more like a funeral than a game. Will the Expos return to Montreal? There have been lots of rumors, hopes, and probably even a few prayers but so far nothing has come about. Fans will have to continue to wait and see.

This year, Netflix will be adding a documentary on the Montreal Expos that will explore how the team started, the ups and downs over the years, the battle the owners had with the city over the need of a new stadium, and the lack of fans towards the end of its run. The yet-to-be-titled documentary was created by Netflix in partnership with a Montreal based production company and will be added to the streaming platform later this year.

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