Sunday, January 4, 2009

Montreal Celebrates 100 - PART 1

There are now a handful of sports clubs in North America that have lasted 100 years. You may add to that list the MONTREAL CANADIENS or as my friend Pascal say - LES CANADIENS DE MONTREAL.
Montreal has a rich tradition of sports - including hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics and Expo 67 - the World's Fair. But their baseball history is rich and lengthy as well. With play in the International League beginning in 1897 and continued professional class baseball from 1928, Montreal was an intricate part of the diamond's circuit until recently.
Standout player James "Doc" Casey (T206 card above) was the Montreal Royales' 9th managers at the time the Montreal hockey club began in 1910.

The Royales were most famous for being the minor league affiliate to the Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1960) and the last stop for Jackie Robinson before the big leagues. Montreal Royales were also the home team for Duke Snider and Roberto Clemente prior to their Senior promotions.
In 1969 the National League welcomed the company of the first club outside the United States with the MONTREAL EXPOS (Les Expos de Montréal) - so named after the 1967 World's Fair.
The roster of star players from the EXPOS is prominent with names like Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Tony Perez and Randy Johnson. Milestones like Pete Rose's 4,000th hit occured outside of the United States - in Canada. Montreal hosted the 1982 All-Star Game.

In October 2005, the MONTREAL CANADIENS honored the departing Expos (to be Washington Nationals) by raising their banner at the home ice rink at the BELL CENTRE.

And so ended less than 40 years of Major League Baseball in Montreal. Meanwhile the century old Canadiens, who are the only NHL club to win the STANLEY CUP in every decade of their existance (1910 -2009) , must win the trophy this year to keep that record in tact.

Over the coming month or months I hope to high-light some of the interesting history of the 100 year old hockey club. For those less familiar with the sport of hockey I'll introduce you to the invention that help make the ice -that makes the game possible - the ZAMBONI. Those of you who are Montreal regulars - just sing along or enjoy this VERSION instead.

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