Stade Municipal (Quebec City)

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Stade Municipal
Parc Victoria
Stade municipal de Québec - Hiver 2014.jpg
Full name Stade municipal de Québec
Location 100 Cardinal Maurice-Roy Street
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada G1K 8Z1
Coordinates 46°49′7″N 71°14′0.59″W / 46.81861°N 71.2334972°W / 46.81861; -71.2334972Coordinates: 46°49′7″N 71°14′0.59″W / 46.81861°N 71.2334972°W / 46.81861; -71.2334972
Operator City of Quebec
Capacity Baseball – 4,800[1]
Field size Left field: 315 ft (96 m)
Center field: 380 ft (120 m)
Right field: 315 ft (96 m)[1]
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground April 1, 1938[2]
Opened May 14, 1939 (1939-05-14)[2]
(77 years, 73 days ago)
Renovated 1999[3]
Tenants
Quebec Athletics (Quebec Provincial League/Canadian–American League) (1939–1942)
Quebec Alouettes (Canadian–American League) (1946–1948)
Quebec Braves (Canadian–American League/Provincial League) (1949–1955)
Quebec Indiens (Mauricie League/Provincial League) (1957–1970)
Québec Carnavals (Eastern League) (1971–1975)
Quebec Metros (Eastern League) (1976–1977)
Québec Diamants (Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League) (1995–2011, 2014-present)
Québec Capitales (Can-Am League) (1999-present)
Québec Capitales Junior (Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League) (2012–2013)

Stade Municipal is a stadium in Quebec City, Quebec. It is used primarily for baseball and is home field to the Quebec Capitales of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am) minor league baseball team. Originally opened in 1939, it has a capacity of 4,800 and is located within the boundaries of Parc Victoria, a municipal park and recreation area located between the Nouveau St-Roch district of Quebec City and the south shore of the Saint-Charles River.

The ballpark is often informally referred to as simply "Parc Victoria" by local residents even though the field only occupies about a quarter of the park's total area. Modest in capacity relative to the size of the city's population, it is well-attended during Capitales home games.

History[4][edit]

Construction[edit]

In 1937, then-Premier of Quebec, Maurice Duplessis, a baseball fan, was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch of the Quebec Provincial League season in Trois-Rivières. During his visit, he noticed how damaged was their stadium. He then decided to allow public funding to be used for the construction of new sport facilities in many Quebec cities. By doing so, he also wanted to create thousands of new jobs during a period of economic struggles. In 1938, following a demand by a group representing the Quebec Athletics, the government agreed to build a new baseball stadium in Quebec City. In early April 1938, construction work began in Parc Victoria. The stadium would be completed a few months later at the end of the 1938 baseball season.

Early years (1939–1956)[edit]

On May 14, 1939, a first baseball game was held at the new stadium. Then-mayor of Quebec City, Lucien Borne, was in the attendance. More than 5,000 people attended the game. The Athletics won their first game at the stadium 6-5 against Trois-Rivières. The first Quebec player to hit a home run at Stade Municipal was Roland Gladu who would go on to play in the Majors for the Boston Braves in 1944. In 1941, the Athletics joined the Canadian–American League and became an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. From 1943 to 1945, baseball was not played at the stadium due to World War II.

After the ending of the war, baseball was once again played at Stade Municipal. Under new ownership, the Athletics were renamed the Alouettes. They became an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in 1946 and of the New York Giants in 1948. However, from 1946 to 1948, the Alouettes were not successful on the field, finishing last every year.

In 1948, the Alouettes were sold to businessman Ulysse Ste-Marie. Wanting to get his newly acquired team back on track, he began by changing the team's name to the Quebec Braves. Ste-Marie also hired a new manager for his team, Frank McCormick, a former 9-time MLB All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds. During his first year as their manager, the Braves won 90 games, 34 more than the previous year, and clinched the 1949 Canadian–American League pennant. McCormick quit the team after only one year.

For the 1950 season, Ste-Marie hired a new manager to replace McCormick, George McQuinn, another former MLB All-Star. For a second straight year, the Braves won the Canadian–American League championship. The 1950 Braves are still considered today one of the best minor league teams of all time.

In 1951, the Braves quit the Canadian–American League to join the Provincial League. They became an affiliate of the Boston Braves/Milwaukee Braves. On July 15, 1953, with Warren Spahn as their starting pitcher, Milwaukee played an exhibition game against Quebec at Stade Municipal. Two years later, on May 31, 1955, Milwaukee came to Stade Municipal to play another exhibition game. This time, they had baseball legend Hank Aaron in their lineup. Aaron was the only player to hit a home run during that game.

In 1955, the Provincial League and the Quebec Braves ceased operations. During their seven year-existence, the Braves were considered a dynasty winning a total of six championships.

Quebec Indiens (1957–1970)[edit]

In 1957, Quebec City found itself without a professional baseball team. Minor leagues in North America were going through a though time. However, Hugues Beaudoin, a Quebec City resident, founded a new team, the Quebec Indiens. With only amateur players from Quebec in its lineup, the Indiens played their first seasons in the Mauricie League. A few years later, they joined a new version of the Provincial League. During their final year in 1970, the Indiens' lineup was only made of professional American and Latino players.

Throughout the years, the Quebec Indiens won a total of three championships (1960, 1964, 1969).

Quebec Carnavals/Metros (1971–1977)[edit]

In 1969, the Montreal Expos joinded Major League Baseball and became the first non-American major baseball team. Two years later, in 1971, they established their Double-A affiliates in Quebec. The team was named the Quebec Carnavals in honor of the famous Carnaval de Quebec. After a difficult inaugural season, the Carnavals finished the 1972 season with a 75-64 record, just 2½ games behind the Trois-Rivières Aigles. They broke the attendance record for the Eastern League with a total attendance of 142,818 people throughout the season.

In 1973, future Hall of Famer Gary Carter joined the team. He would go on to finish the season with 15 homeruns while producing a total of 68 runs. During that same season, the Quebec City fans were also introduced to another future All-Star player, pitcher Steve Rogers.

The 1974 season was exceptional for the Carnavals. They managed to clinch their division pennants and five of their ourtfielders would go on to play in the MLB, Warren Cromartie, Bombo Rivera, Tony Scott, Ellis Valentine and Jerry White.

In 1975, the Carnavals began to experience financial struggles. François Bonetto became the new owner of the team and changed the team's name. The Quebec Carnavals became the Quebec Metros.

During the 1976, young rising star, Andre Dawson, played in only 40 games in Quebec City. His impressive performance (.357 AVG, 8 HR, 27 RBI) quickly got him promoted to the Expos Triple-A affiliates, the Denver Bears.

At the end of the 1977 season, the Montreal Expos moved their Double-A affiliates to Memphis, Tennessee and became known as the Chicks.

Dark years (1978–1998)[edit]

For two decades, the stadium was only used for junior baseball and became heavily damaged. In 1990s, the Stade Municipal was in such a bad shape that the city council strongly considered demolishing it.

However, a group of citizens formed the Comité de Relance in a desperate effort to save the building. Only minor work would be done by that committee to repair some parts of the aging stadium. Even though the demolition of the building was avoided, a private investor was desperately needed in order to justify some investments by the city.

In 1998, Jean-François Côté managed to invite Miles Wolff, the editor of Baseball America, to visit the stadium. Due to the very bad condition of the building, Wolff did not see any potential for a future professional baseball.

Renovation and Baseball Comeback (1999–present)[edit]

Following the deception of Wolff's visit, the city spent the next 6 months renovating the old building. Wolff was then invited once again to visit the Stade Municipal. His reaction after that second visit in Quebec City was very favorable.

On June 4th, 1999, the Quebec Capitales, a new minor professional baseball team, began to play at the stadium. Since then, the city has continued to invest important amounts of money to modernize the stadium while keeping its historic side.

Retired numbers[edit]

Stade Municipal retired numbers[5]
No. Player Position Team Years Date Retired Notes
8 Gary Carter C Québec Carnavals/Montréal Expos 1973–84

1992

July 31, 1993 Retired by the Montréal Expos

Not officially retired by the Capitales

9 Jean-Philippe Roy SS Québec Diamants 1995–99

2008–11

July 25, 2013 Retired by the Québec Diamants

Player (1995–99) Manager (2008–11)

31 Eddie Lantigua 1B Québec Capitales 1999–2009 June 17, 2010
42 Jackie Robinson 2B Brooklyn Dodgers 1947–56 April 15, 1997 Retired by Major League Baseball
Game between the Québec Capitales and the New Jersey Jackals at Stade Municipal

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Québec Capitales – Stade Municipal". Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Stade Municipal". Capitales de Québec. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Stade Municipal, Quebec City, Quebec". BallparkReviews.com. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Le stade municipal: Un joyau historique". Capitales de Québec. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Le Stade de A à Z". Capitales de Québec. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
Events and tenants
Preceded by
CanWest Global Park
Host of the NoL All-Star Game
Stade Municipal

2002
Succeeded by
Haymarket Park