50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"
Montreal Expos history: The 1969 expansion, Montreal Expos were named after the 1987 Worlds Fair (Expo '67) held in the city. Montreal had been an AAA home to the Montreal Royals, a long time minor league club that began play in 1897.
With the exception of ten years (1918-1927) minor league ball was played since then in Montreal for 53 years. The Royals were an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the place where Jackie Robinson also played for breaking into MLB. The team won seven championships in their era.
The first star player for the Expos was the Popular (future Met) Rusty Staub whom the locals named "Le Grande Orange". The future Cajun chef also learned to speak French while in Montreal.
Jarry Park, Montreal Quebec: The Expos played in a large park area where a baseball field was built- Jarry Park (or Park Jarry as the French Canadians say) was home to the club until they moved to Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in 1976.
Park Jarry was a cold windy place, with the sun setting in west blinding the first baseman's eyes. Forgotten is the fact that there was a large swimming pool beyond the outfield, belonging to the parks grounds.
This was long before the pools & splash HRs of today in various in ballparks. Pirate slugger Willie Stargell once landed a 490' shot into the pool, earning its nickname "Willies Pool". Today the area is Stade Jarry a tennis stadium.
Just 8,577 fans showed up on a brisk Montreal afternoon to watch Gene Mauch's Expos (7-12) face Gil Hodges eventual World Champion Mets (8-11). Veteran MudCat Grant went for the Expos taking on the Mets lefty, Jerry Koosman.
The game was highlighted by two HR's hit by Ed Kranepool. Kranepool blasted a 2nd inning shot & a 6th inning shot both off of Mud Cat Grant.
It was all the Mets needed as fine pitching once again came from the 1969 Mets.
Koosman would pitch into the 5th inning, allowing no runs on two hits. Fireballer Nolan Ryan came in relief went the distance shutting out the Expos, striking out seven walking no one & scattering four hits. He earned the victory to go 2-0 on the year.