Montreal Royals

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For the CBL club, see Montreal Royales. For the former ice hockey team, see Royal Montreal Hockey Club. For other uses, see Montreal Royals (disambiguation).
Montreal Royals
18961960
Montreal, Quebec
MontrealRoyals46.png
Team Logo
Class-level
  • Class AAA (1946-1960)
  • Class AA (1928-1945)
  • Class B (1922-1924)
  • Class AA (1912-1917)
  • Class A (1897-1911)
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
Ballpark
Minor league titles
League titles 9 (1898, 1922, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1953, 1958)

The Montreal Royals were a minor league professional baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec, that existed 1897–1917 and 1928–60 as a member of the International League and its progenitor, the original Eastern League. The Royals are most famous as the top farm club (Class AAA beginning in 1946) of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1939 to 1960, which included the pioneering African-American player, Jackie Robinson, as a member for the 1946 season.

History[edit]

Delorimier Stadium, seen here in 1950, was the home of the Montreal Royals.

In 1928, George Stallings, a former Major League Baseball executive and Southern United States plantation owner, formed a partnership with Montreal lawyer and politician, Athanase David, and Montreal businessman, Ernest Savard, to resurrect the Montreal Royals. Among the team's other local affluent notables were close friends Lucien Beauregard, Romeo Gauvreau, Hector H. Racine, and Charles E. Trudeau. Charles Trudeau, businessman and father of former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, would remain on the Montreal Baseball Club Inc. Board of Directors until his death in 1935.[1] Together these men financed and built Delorimier Stadium (also known as Montreal Stadium, Hector Racine Stadium and Delorimier Downs) [2] at Delorimier Avenue and Ontario Street in east-end Montreal to serve as the team's home field. This version of the Montreal Royals enjoyed great success and launched the baseball careers of Sparky Anderson, Gene Mauch, Roberto Clemente and the man who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier with Montreal in 1946, Jackie Robinson. Other Royals' players of note include Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Chuck Connors, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres and the winningest pitcher in the history of the team, Tommy Lasorda.[3]

FabulousMontrealRoyalsbookcover.jpg

The team holds a unique place in baseball history for being the first major-league affiliate to break the so-called "baseball color barrier". On October 23, 1945, two members of the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club Inc. Board of Directors, Montreal Royals owner and team president, Hector Racine, and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager, Branch Rickey, signed Jackie Robinson, an African-American.[4][5] Robinson played with the Royals during the 1946 season. John Wright and Roy Partlow, black pitchers, also played with the Royals that year.[6]

During that season, Robinson faced the race-related resistance from his manager, Mississippian Clay Hopper, and teammates but soon won them over with his masterful play (beginning with his spectacular debut in the opening game against the Jersey City Giants) and courage facing hostile crowds and opponents. As for his home city, he was welcomed immediately by the public, who followed his performance that season with intense adoration. For the rest of his life, Robinson remained grateful to the people of Montreal for making the city a welcoming oasis for him and his wife during that difficult 1946 season. They lived in an apartment in a white neighborhood of Montreal that summer.[7]

Statue at Montreal's Olympic Stadium of the Royals' most famous player, Jackie Robinson made by sculptor Jules Lasalle.

Robinson then left to play for the Dodgers the following year, but not before winning the Little World series and being chased by exultant Montreal fans right to the train as he left. In Ken Burns' documentary film Baseball, the narrator quotes Sam Maltin, a stringer for the Pittsburgh Courier: "It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind."

The Royals continued through the 1960 season. On September 13, 1960 Dodgers President Walter O'Malley announced that due to weak attendance, the Dodgers were ending their affiliation with the team. While a new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins was arranged, efforts to keep the team in Montreal failed, and the franchise was relocated to Syracuse, New York for 1961, where it has played as the Syracuse Chiefs since.

Titles[edit]

The Royals won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the IL, 7 times, and played in the championship series 11 times. For more details on their playoff history, please see Montreal Royals Accomplishments

Montreal Royals records[edit]

Royals and Jackie Robinson memorial at former location of Delorimier Stadium.
Year Wins Losses Percentage Finish
1897 49 76 .392 7th
1898 68 48 .586 1st
1899 62 51 .549 2nd
1900 54 72 .429 7th
1901 65 67 .492 6th
1902 59 77 .434 6th
1903 37 95 .280 7th
1904 67 62 .519 5th
1905 56 80 .412 6th
1906 57 83 .407 7th
1907 46 85 .351 8th
1908 64 75 .461 5th
1909 68 83 .450 6th
1910 71 80 .470 5th
1911 72 80 .474 5th
1912 71 81 .467 6th
1913 74 77 .490 5th
1914 60 89 .403 7th
1915 67 70 .489 5th
1916 75 64 .539 3rd
1917 56 94 .373 7th
1928 84 84 .500 5th
1929 88 79 .527 4th
1930 96 72 .571 3rd
1931 85 80 .515 4th
1932 90 78 .536 4th
1933 81 84 .490 6th
1934 73 77 .487 6th
1935 92 62 .597 1st
1936 71 81 .467 6th
1937 82 67 .550 2nd
1938 69 84 .451 6th
1939 64 88 .421 7th
1940 80 80 .500 5th
1941 90 64 .584 2nd
1942 82 71 .536 2nd
1943 76 76 .500 4th
1944 73 80 .477 6th
1945 95 58 .621 1st
1946 100 54 .649 1st
1947 93 60 .608 2nd
1948 94 59 .614 1st
1949 84 70 .545 3rd
1950 86 67 .562 2nd
1951 95 59 .617 1st
1952 95 56 .629 1st
1953 89 63 586 2nd
1954 88 66 .571 2nd
1955 95 59 .617 1st
1956 80 72 .526 4th
1957 68 86 .442 8th
1958 90 63 .588 1st
1959 72 82 .468 6th
1960 62 92 .403 8th

Montreal Royals managers[edit]

Year(s) Name
1897 George Weidman
1897–1902 Charles Dooley
1903 Gene DeMontreville
1904 Charlie Atherton
1904 Ed Barrow
1905–1906 James Bannon
1906–1907 Malachi Kittridge
1907 James Morgan
1908–1909 Doc Casey
1910 Ed Barrow
1911 Edward J. McCafferty
1912 Billy Lush
1912–1914 Kitty Bransfield
1914–1917 Dan Howley
1928 George Stallings
1928–1932 Ed Holly
1932–1933 Doc Gautreau
1933–1934 Oscar Roettger
1934–1936 Frank Shaughnessy
1936 Harry Smythe
1937–1938 Walter “Rabbit” Maranville
1938 Alex Hooks
1939 Burleigh Grimes
1940–1942 Clyde Sukeforth
1943 Fresco Thompson
1944–1945 Bruno Betzel
1946–1949 Clay Hopper
1950–1953 Walter Alston
1954 Max Macon
1955–1957 Greg Mulleavy
1957 Al Campanis
1957 Al Ronning
1957 Tommy Holmes
1958–1960 Clay Bryant

Notable former players[edit]

References[edit]