Jarry Park Stadium

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Jarry Park Stadium
Stade Parc Jarry
Location Montreal, Quebec
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 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 April 14, 1969 (Baseball)
Closed September 26, 1976
Montreal Expos (MLB) (1969-1976)

Jarry Park Stadium (/ˈæri/; French: Stade Parc Jarry, IPA: [stad paʁk ʒaʁi]) is a former baseball stadium in Montreal which served as home to the Montreal Expos, 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 preseason games in 1969; August 25 (Detroit Lions vs Boston Patriots) and September 11 (New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers).

The stadium began as a ballfield 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.


The scoreboard at Jarry Park Stadium, 1969

When the Expos were announced as an expansion franchise in 1967, finding a site proved to be a challenge. Delorimier Stadium, home of the old minor-league Montreal Royals, was ruled out because its location made it impossible to expand beyond its 20,000-seat capacity; it was eventually demolished in 1971. Initially it looked like the Expos would be using 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 have stripped the franchise and awarded 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. Giles liked the site's location—less than a mile from a highway and 200 yards from a commuter railroad.

Once the ballfield was approved as the temporary home of the expansion club, the Expos renovated it to something approaching major league standards. Unroofed extensions were built from the original stand 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 park's capacity to a serviceable 28,500, and the park was deemed ready for the Expos.

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.

Montreal was granted a franchise on condition that a domed stadium--thought to be a must due to Montreal's harsh winter weather--be in place for the 1972 season. However, a strike delayed the completion of Olympic Stadium. When it became apparent that Olympic Stadium would not be ready on time, the Expos were forced to seek permission from MLB to stay in Jarry for one more season. Further construction delays forced the Expos to repeat the process until Olympic Stadium was finally ready for the 1977 season.

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.

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

Baseball moments at Jarry[edit]

April 14, 1969: In the first Major League Baseball regular season game in Canada, the Montreal Expos defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-7.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

October 2, 1972: In the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets, the Expos' Bill Stoneman pitches the first MLB no-hitter outside the United States. Montreal wins, 7-0, but the Mets win the second game, 2-1.[4][5]

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 defeat the Expos, 3-0, despite 13 Montreal hits.[6]

September 15, 1973: An attendance 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.[7]

September 28, 1974: Gary Carter hits his first major league home run off Phillies' pitcher Steve Carlton. The Expos win, 3-1.[8]

September 26, 1976: In the last baseball games played at Stade Parc Jarry, the Phillies win 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 gives the Phils' their first National League East Division title.[9][10]

After the Expos[edit]

The stadium was used for various civic events in the years after the Expos moved out. It was gradually converted into a tennis stadium, with one corner of the court located at the old backstop. 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 renamed again, to 'Stade Uniprix'.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Home of the
Montreal Expos

1969 - 1976
Succeeded by
Olympic Stadium