Jarry Park Stadium

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Jarry Park Stadium
Stade Parc Jarry
Location Montreal
Coordinates 45°31′58″N 73°37′37″W / 45.53278°N 73.62694°W / 45.53278; -73.62694Coordinates: 45°31′58″N 73°37′37″W / 45.53278°N 73.62694°W / 45.53278; -73.62694
Owner City of Montreal
Capacity 3,000 (1960) – 28,456 (1969)
Field size Left Field – 340 ft (103 m)
Left-Centre – 368 ft (112 m)
Centre Field – 420 ft (128 m)
Right-Centre – 368 ft (112 m)
Right Field – 340 ft (103 m)
Backstop – 60 ft (18 m)
Surface Grass
Opened August 1960 (Baseball)
Closed September 26, 1976 (Baseball)
Tenants
Montreal Expos (MLB) (1969–1976)

Jarry Park Stadium (/ˈæri/; French: Stade Parc Jarry, IPA: [stad paʁk ʒaʁi]) is a former baseball stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which served as home to the Montreal Expos (today's Washington Nationals), Major League Baseball's first Canadian franchise, from 1969 to 1976. It served as a temporary home (for eight seasons) until the domed Olympic Stadium was finished and made available to the Expos. The ballpark was typically called simply (and incorrectly, since the stadium was simply built within and a part of the larger park) "Jarry Park" (or Parc Jarry in French) within baseball circles. The stadium was host to two American football National Football League preseason games in 1969; August 25 (Detroit Lions vs Boston Patriots) and September 11 (New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers).

The stadium originally began as a baseball field in Montreal's north end (Villeray) in a public park known as Jarry Park. The only structure was the small unroofed grandstand behind the home plate and backstop area, with seating for approximately 3,000 people.

2015, Former Baseball Backstop grandstand evident

History[edit]

The scoreboard at Jarry Park Stadium, 1969

Previous to Jarry Park Stadium, Montreal's main baseball stadium was Delorimier Stadium, longtime home of the Montreal Royals. The diamond at Jarry Park had simply hosted youth baseball on a field in the park. However, in early 1960 the Montreal Royals were dropped by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an affiliate.[1]

Jackie Robinson Montreal Royals jersey

Looking to improve facilities for a stadium in Montreal, the 3,000 seat Jarry Park Stadium was built, formally opening in August 1960. After the Dodgers ended their affiliation with the Royals, potential new owners of the team had an option on the franchise, with the provision that a suitable ballpark be put in place. Unable to negotiate an agreement to play at aging Delorimier Stadium, the group looked to spacious Jarry Park as the alternate site. The Jarry Park Stadium was built for this reason. However, even after the construction, the Royals franchise relocated to Syracuse, New York in 1960.[2]

When the original baseball field was later approved for the Expos, it was renovated to a park approaching major league standards. Unroofed extensions were built from the original stands to the left and right field corners, a large bleacher section was constructed across left field, and a scoreboard was built behind the right field fence. This work brought the stadium's capacity to 28,500, and the park was approved as the Expos temporary home.

Features and dimensions[edit]

Beyond right field was a pre-existing swimming pool in the city park. Long before the "splash hits" at AT&T Park in San Francisco and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, there were occasional "splash hits" here. The first and most famous was a 495 ft (151 m) blast by Willie Stargell on July 23, 1969—leading locals to call the pool "Willie's pool" (French: la piscine de Willie). One of those was hit by Willie McCovey during a 6-4 win over the Expos on August 24, 1969. The idea of the swimming pool itself was later replicated in Chase Field in Phoenix.

The stadium was rather sparse, given that it was intended to be only a temporary home for a maximum of four years. The clubhouses were located along the left field line behind the stands. Due to its orientation, games in April and September frequently started with the setting sun shining right in the faces of first basemen. Eventually, it was decided to delay games until the sun finished setting. It was completely exposed to the elements, which was a particular problem at the beginning and end of the season, given Montreal's long winters. There was a huge gap between the left-field bleachers and the third-base grandstands, resulting in second basemen and shortstops getting buffeted by cold winds early and late in the season. The Expos frequently had to postpone early and late-season games because there was no protection for the fans. Even allowing for its temporary status, the field conditions were among the worst in the majors.

Although the centre field distance was posted as 420 feet, it was actually 417 feet to straightaway centre, and 420 feet to the deep left and right centre field corners.

Montreal Expos[edit]

In their first expansion since 1961, Major League Baseball added four new franchises for the 1969 season. Along with San Diego, Seattle and Kansas City, Montreal, Canada was granted a Major League franchise. This marked the first time a team was located outside of the United States. Montreal, Canada's largest city, had a strong tradition with Minor League Baseball, as the Montreal Royals were a long time Dodgers farm team. Jackie Robinson had played for the Royals in 1946, before his promotion to the Dodgers in 1947, breaking the color barrier. Icon Roberto Clemente was another Montreal Royal player, as were Dodgers legends Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella and Tommy Lasorda. At the time the major league expansion announcement was made, Montreal had just hosted the 1967 World's Fair, called Expo '67, opened a new subway system and submitted (and eventually won) an international bid to host the 1976 Summer Olympic Games.[3]

Owner Charles Bronfman called the new franchise the Expos (after the World's Fair) and hired Gene Mauch as Manager.[4]

When the Expos were announced as an expansion franchise in 1967, one condition for placing a MLB franchise in Montreal was that a domed stadium—thought to be a must due to Montreal's harsh winter weather—be in place for the 1972 season. Finding a site for the Expos to play until that time proved to be a challenge. Delorimier Stadium was ruled out because its location made it impossible to expand beyond its 20,000-seat capacity (it was eventually demolished in 1971). Other options were the Autostade from Expo 67, a fair which had inspired the new club's nickname. However, the city balked at the cost of adding a dome and 12,000 seats, and the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes demanded onerous rent.

The Expos were now in a bind—if they did not find another site quickly, the National League would strip Montreal of its franchise and award it to Buffalo, which already had a suitable stadium in place. In August 1968, Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau persuaded National League President Warren Giles to visit Jarry Park (Parc Jarry). Giles liked the site's location—less than a mile from a highway and 200 yards from a commuter railroad.

After settling in at Jarry Park Stadium, a strike delayed the original 1972 completion of a domed stadium. Due to further delays and cost overruns, the Expos wound up playing eight seasons in Jarry Park.[5][6] After Montreal was selected in 1970 to host the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, the stadium projects of the baseball team and of the Summer Olympic Games merged. When it became apparent that Olympic Stadium would not be ready in time, the Expos were forced to seek permission from MLB to stay at Jarry Park Stadium for one more season. Further construction delays eventually forced the Expos to repeat the process until Olympic Stadium was finally ready for baseball for the 1977 season. For a time during the 1976–77 offseason, it looked like the Expos would have to open the 1977 season at Jarry Park due to delays in securing a lease at Olympic Stadium; indeed, the Expos began selling 1977 season tickets under the assumption they would have to play at Jarry. However, an agreement was finally reached in early 1977.[7]

On the field, the Expos finished 52-110 in their first year. They improved over the years, winning over 70 games in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and came close to the .500 mark in both 1973 and 1974. Their most popular player during the Jarry Park era was Rusty Staub, nicknamed "le Grand Orange."[8] Other players of note at Jarry Park were: Maury Wills, Ron Fairly, Carl Morton, Ken Singleton and Ken Hunt. Future Hall of Famer Gary Carter debuted in 1974 at age 20. Warren Cromartie, Steve Rogers, Larry Parrish, Ellis Valentine and the great Andre Dawson were all young Expos who played their debut seasons at Jarry Park.[9]

Houston Astros pitcher Ken Forsch warms up at Jarry Park Stadium, 1971.

No Hitters[edit]

There was one Major League no hitter pitched at Jarry Park. On October 2, 1972, in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets, Bill Stoneman pitched the first MLB no-hitter outside the United States as Montreal won 7-0.[10][11]

Notable Baseball moments at Jarry[edit]

Expo Ron Fairly, 1969

1969 Attendance Despite Jarry Park Stadium being the smallest venue in Major League Baseball, the Expos drew 1.2 million fans in 1969.[12]

April 14, 1969: In the first Major League Baseball regular season game in Canada, the Montreal Expos defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-7.[13]

1970 Jarry Park served as the home of both a MLB team and a Class AAA team in 1970. The Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) played 13 Home Games in Jarry Park.[14]

September 29, 1971: Batting against Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs, Ron Hunt is hit by a pitch for the 50th time during the season. The Expos win, 6-5, on Hunt's game-winning single in the ninth inning.[15]

May 9, 1972: Willie Mays plays in his final game as a member of the San Francisco Giants. As a pinch-hitter, he gets a single in the ninth inning of a 7-1 Giants' loss to the Expos.[16]

September 9, 1973: A year and a half following his last appearance as a member of the San Francisco Giants, Willie Mays plays the final regular season game of his career as the Mets defeated the Expos, 3-0, despite 13 Montreal hits.[17]

September 15, 1973: A crowd of 34,331 (the largest ever at Jarry Park Stadium) watches the Expos defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4. Bob Bailey singles home Ron Woods with the winning run in the 10th inning.[18]

September 28, 1974: Gary Carter hits his first major league home run off Phillies' pitcher Steve Carlton. The Expos win, 3-1.[19] Evan Haley also hit 2 home runs in this game

September 26, 1976: In the last baseball games played at Stade Parc Jarry, the Phillies won both games of a doubleheader, 4-1 and 2-1 (the second game shortened to seven innings due to rain), over the Expos. The win in the first game gave the Phils' their first National League East Division title.[20][21]

Stade Jarry, 2006

The site Today: After the Expos[edit]

The stadium was used for various civic events in the years after the Expos moved out. The Inter-Montreal soccer team of Canadian Professional Soccer League (CSPL) played at Jarry. Jarry Park Stadium was gradually converted into a tennis stadium, beginning in 1980, with one corner of the court located at the old backstop.[22] The stadium was renamed in honor of Pope John Paul II to mark his visit to Montreal and the park on September 11, 1984. The venue was renamed 'Du Maurier Stadium' in 1987. It has since been upgraded and renamed again, to 'Stade Uniprix'.

Today, according to the Montreal Parks website, Jarry Park itself contains "baseball diamonds, soccer, cricket, bocce, basketball and beach volleyball grounds, pitches and zones, swimming pools and playgrounds, a dog run, and two gazebos. In winter a pond is swept to make a skating rink."[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://sabr.org/bioproj/park/be7dd3d0
  2. ^ http://sabr.org/bioproj/park/be7dd3d0
  3. ^ http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/washington_nationals.shtml
  4. ^ http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nl/mtlexpos/expos.html
  5. ^ http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/JarryPark.html
  6. ^ Keri, Jonah (2014). Up, Up and Away. Random House Canada. ISBN 9780307361356. 
  7. ^ Costello, Rory. Olympic Stadium (Montreal). Society for American Baseball Research, 2013.
  8. ^ http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/JarryPark.html
  9. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/WSN/
  10. ^ "October 2, 1972 New York Mets at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  11. ^ "October 2, 1972 New York Mets at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  12. ^ http://ballparkdigest.com/200904051700/major-league-baseball/visits/jarry-park-montreal-expos-1969-1976
  13. ^ {{cite web| title=April 14, 1969 St. Louis Cardinals at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play |url=hwww.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MON/MON196904140.shtml |work=Baseball-Reference.com |accessdate=2009-01-14}http://}
  14. ^ http://ballparkdigest.com/200904051700/major-league-baseball/visits/jarry-park-montreal-expos-1969-1976
  15. ^ "September 29, 1971 Chicago Cubs at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  16. ^ "May 9, 1972 San Francisco Giants at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  17. ^ "September 9, 1973 New York Mets at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  18. ^ "September 15, 1973 Philadelphia Phillies at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  19. ^ "September 28, 1974 Philadelphia Phillies at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  20. ^ "September 26, 1976 Philadelphia Phillies at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  21. ^ "September 26, 1976 Philadelphia Phillies at Montreal Expos Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  22. ^ http://sabr.org/bioproj/park/be7dd3d0
  23. ^ http://www.montreal.com/parks/jarry.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
None
Home of the
Montreal Expos

1969–1976
Succeeded by
Olympic Stadium