This week's elevation of Andre Dawson to the Baseball Hall of Fame naturally brings back memories of the heyday of the Montreal Expos. That would be roughly 1979 to 1983 when the team had the winningest record in the National League. I was living in Ottawa at the time and was a great fan of Youppi's team, listening to almost every game on the radio in my home office.
Those were the days of speedsters Rodney Scott and Tim Raines, Tim Wallach on third, Steve
Rogers, Dawson himself, and the inimitable Bill "Spaceman" Lee, who today sometimes calls Vancouver Island home. (The other BC connection, of course, is Larry Walker, the slugger from Maple Ridge, who joined the club in 1989 and later, playing for Colorado, was the first Canadian to be named league MVP.)
I attended many Expos games, first of all at Jarry Park, where I once saw Rogers pitch, then at the Olympic Stadium, but I almost preferred the radio where I could listen to Dave Van Horne and his sidekick Duke Snider, the famous "Duke of Flatbush", swap stories as they worked their way lazily through the day's game.
Along with every other Expo fan I was listening on Blue Monday, Oct. 19, 1981, when Steve Rogers served up a home run to the Dodgers' Rick Monday in the top of the ninth in the deciding fifth game of the NL championship series. The Expos fell 2-1; it was the closest they ever got to the World Series.
After that the team had some great players but they never reached the playoffs again and gradually fan support waned. The franchise left town for Washington at the end of the 2004 season, by which time I'd moved across the continent and was contenting myself with the odd visit to Nat Bailey Stadium to watch the Canadians.
But good on Andre Dawson and I expect it won't be long before Larry Walker becomes the first BC native to join him in the Hall.