50 years ago, Expos marked first regular season game, first win, first home runs
Published Monday, April 8, 2019 7:50AM EDT Last Updated Monday, April 8, 2019 8:51PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Exactly 50 years ago, Montreal’s off-and-on-again love affair with Major League Baseball began in earnest.
It was April 8, 1969 when the Montreal Expos played their first-ever regular season game, marking the start of a 36-year history that ended when the team was moved to Washington, D.C. at the end of the 2004 season.
The Expos won their first game 11-10 against the Mets, playing in New York.
The Mets honored then-Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau by having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Shea Stadium in front of more than 44,500 spectators.
Mets’ star Tom Seaver started for the home team, while Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant took to the mount for the Expos.
First baseman Bob Bailey’s two-run double was the first hit in team history, while Dan Mcginn would notch the team’s first homerun. Rusty Staub and Jose ‘Coco’ Laboy would also hit dingers in the game.
Pitcher Don Shaw was credited with the win and reliever Carrol Sembera earned the save.
While it was an auspicious start, it didn’t set the tone for the rest of the season, in which the Expos finished with just 52 wins and 110 losses, tying the San Diego Padres for the worst record in MLB.
The Mets would go on to win their first World Series title.
Six days after the game, the Expos would play their first home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Jarry Park Stadium.