Delorimier Stadium

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Delorimier Stadium seen here in 1950. Ontario Street East runs behind the first base side, and De Lorimier Avenue runs along the third base side.[1]

Delorimier Stadium (French pronunciation: ​[dəlɔʁimje]; also known as Montreal Stadium, Hector Racine Stadium and Delorimier Downs) [2] was a 20,000-seat sports stadium at 2101 Ontario Street East, at the corner of De Lorimier Avenue in the present-day Montreal borough of Ville-Marie. The stadium was home to the Montreal Royals International League baseball team, top farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers Major League Baseball team, from 1928 to 1960, and from 1946 to 1953, home to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Delorimier Downs, as it was originally called, was built by former Major League Baseball manager, George Stallings, Montreal lawyer and politician, Athanase David, and Montreal businessman, Ernest Savard. Among the stadium's other local affluent financiers were close friends Lucien Beauregard, Romeo Gauvreau, Hector H. Racine, and Charles E. Trudeau. The stadium opened in May 1928 following a parade and a large inauguration ceremony. Royals' general manager Frank Shaughnessy had a lighting system installed in the stadium for the 1935 season.

Delorimier Stadium, circa 1933.

The stadium saw the launching of the baseball career of Gene Mauch, who later came back to manage the Montreal Expos, plus future Hall of Fame members Sparky Anderson, Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson, the man who, debuting in professional baseball with the Montreal Royals in 1946, would go on to break baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Other Royals' players of note include player-turned-actor Chuck Connors and Hall of Fame members Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella and Tommy Lasorda.

The Montreal Alouettes were founded in 1946 and played there to capacity crowds until 1953 when the team moved to larger facilities. It is where Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback Sam Etcheverry made his CFL debut.

In 1951, several association football (soccer) teams toured North America. Celtic played an exhibition match at Delorimier Stadium on May 20 against Fulham. In 1957 Celtic returned to Delorimier for a June 9 exhibition match against Tottenham Hotspur. Although six years apart, on both occasions the ticket price was 15¢.[3]

Delorimier Stadium was also the site of a number of professional boxing and wrestling matches.

In June 1952, Walter O'Malley, Brooklyn Dodgers chief shareholder (owner) and president,[4] travelled to Delorimier Stadium to dedicate a plaque to Hector Racine,[5] Montreal Royals owner and team president, and Brooklyn Dodgers Board of Directors member.[6] Delorimier Stadium saw Walter O'Malley return four years later to attend Hector Racine Memorial Night with a high-ranking delegation of Brooklyn Dodgers, International League and Major League baseball executives. Only this time it was to dedicate a plaque to honor Hector Racine's memory.[5] Hector Racine died that same year in Miami, Florida after watching the Brooklyn Dodgers lose to the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game.[7] With Racine in the Delorimier Stadium president's office, the Royals won more pennants, playoffs and Little World Series than any club in International League history to date.[5]

After the Montreal Royals ceased to operate in 1960, the stadium saw limited use and was eventually torn down. Prior to the demolition of the stadium, the building was torn down in bits, and the interior was used to house makeshift classrooms as the student population in Quebec grew rapidly (due to kids staying in school longer) in the late 1960s (see External link below). The site is now occupied by the Pierre Dupuy School, a secondary school. There is a small stone memorial surrounded by a red batting cage at the corner of the park (Ontario and Delorimier) with a bronze plaque honouring Mr. Robinson's accomplishments.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Google Maps aerial of area For reference, the distinctive twinned L-shaped buildings at the corner of Rue Larivière and Rue Parthenais in the 1950 aerial are still standing in modern aerial photographs.
  2. ^ Baseball Reference: Delorimier Downs
  3. ^ Celtic Programmes Online - Tours of the USA and Canada
  4. ^ O'Malley Seidler Partners, LLC. Retrieved on 2009-02-06
  5. ^ a b c O'Malley Seidler Partners, LLC. Retrieved on 2009-02-06
  6. ^ O'Malley Seidler Partners, LLC. Retrieved on 2009-02-06
  7. ^ "Hector Racine, 69, Baseball Leader; President of Montreal Royals, who was also a director of the Dodgers, and numerous Montreal and Midtown Manhattan firms, dies." The New York Times. March 13, 1956. "Hector Racine, president of the Montreal Baseball Club and a Brooklyn Dodgers executive, died early yesterday."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°31′42″N 73°33′27″W / 45.52833°N 73.55750°W / 45.52833; -73.55750