There Is A Blossoming Romance Between MLB And The Montreal Expos

In retrospect, the 1969 expansion was a failure.

It appears that Major League Baseball has fallen back in love with the Montreal Expos. The out of business franchise is becoming baseball’s version of Lazarus or maybe Phoenix at least for one day as the Expos will take the field in Washington. The Washington Nationals ownership will be highlighting its Montreal roots as Major League Baseball celebrates the 50th anniversary of expanding by four teams with a Montreal-Kansas City game. Before baseball gets carried away, it should be noted that the National League did not want to expand the number of teams in the league and the American League put teams in Kansas City and Seattle because Charles Finley moved his Kansas City Athletics to Oakland and Missouri Senator Stuart Symington was making baseball owners feel very uncomfortable with the absence of a Major League team in Kansas City by threatening baseball’s antitrust exemption. The National League added Montreal and San Diego. In 1973, San Diego ownership sold the team to Washington interests that planned to move the team to the nation’s capital for the 1974 season. The deal would fall through when San Diego threatened to sue someone connected to Major League Baseball for $84 million because the Padres-San Diego stadium lease was going to be broken. Ray Kroc ended up buying the team and the Padres franchise remained in San Diego.

Seattle was a failure. Local ownership went bankrupt and a Milwaukee car dealer named Allen “Bud” Selig purchased the Seattle Pilots franchise in 1970 and moved the team to Milwaukee. MLB took over the Expos franchise after the 2001 season.  MLB tried to put the Expos and Minnesota Twins out of business after the 2002 season but legal challenges in Minnesota because of a stadium lease ended that scheme. The Expos franchise was moved to Washington after the 2004 season. The Expos brand returns for a day.