The Expos may have moved to Washington after the 2004 season, but by my count 21 former Montreal players are still active in the big leagues. The following is a look at my all ex-Expos infield.
To qualify, players had to be drafted or signed by Montreal or have suited up for at least one game in the Expos organization. In the coming weeks, I’ll also present my all ex-Expos outfield, pitching staff and coaching staff.
Catcher: Brian Schneider (Philadelphia)
Schneider played five seasons with the Expos from 2000 to 2004. The veteran receiver recorded his finest big league season with Montreal in 2004, when he belted 12 homers and rapped out 112 hits in 135 games. He also threw out a league-best 50 per cent of baserunners trying to steal against him.
1B: Matt Stairs (Washington)
When New Brunswick native, Matt Stairs, agreed to a contract with Washington this off-season, he returned to the organization that originally signed him as a free agent in 1989. In suiting up for the Nats this season, he donned his record 13th different major league uniform. Over his 19-year career, the nomadic Canuck has also played for the Expos, Red Sox, A’s, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies and Padres. Now 43, Stairs still represents a potent left-handed bat off the bench. During his career, he has belted 265 homers (second most by a Canadian to Larry Walker), including a big league record 23 pinch hit round-trippers.
2B: Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati)
Selected by Montreal in the second round of the 1999 draft, Phillips spent four-plus seasons in the Expos system, including a 10-game stint with the Ottawa Lynx in 2002. On July 27 that year, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians along with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Lee Stevens for Bartolo Colon in one of the most lopsided trades in big league history. After four frustrating seasons with the Indians organization, Phillips was dealt to the Reds in April 2006 and has since evolved into one of the National League’s best second baseman.
SS: Orlando Cabrera (Cleveland)
This sure-handed Colombian infielder played parts of eight seasons in Montreal from 1997 to 2004. In 2001, he won his first Gold Glove and recorded a career-high 96 RBIs. He was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in July 2004 and helped propel them to their first World Series triumph in 86 years. He has since suited up for the Angels, White Sox, A’s, Twins and Reds. This season he is manning second base for the Indians.
3B: Jamey Carroll (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Chosen in the 14th round by Montreal in 1996, Carroll played parts of three seasons with the Expos from 2002 to 2004. He was also a popular player with the International League’s Ottawa Lynx from 2000 through 2002 and is one of two players in Lynx history to have their number retired. Now in his 10th big league season, he has enjoyed tenures as a utility infielder with the Rockies and Indians and is currently the Dodgers’ starting shortstop.
Back-up infielders: Nick Johnson (Cleveland)*
*Currently on the disabled list.
Wow, 21 players still around eh.
Let’s hope Shawn Hill gets picked up by the time you do the pitchers!
I’ll try to fit Hill into the bullpen. Among the ex-Expos starting pitchers are Cliff Lee, Bartolo Colon, Javier Vazquez, Jake Westbrook, Carl Pavano and Ted Lilly. Pretty good staff. Thanks for the comment.
Has it been that long since the Expos left? I used to love watching the Expos as a child, even though it meant I watched the games on French CBC. I still knew what was going on, without understanding the commentators. Great post–nice to see how well some of these guys are doing.
Thanks for the comment, Heidi. Unfortunately, it has been that long since the Expos left. I, too, remember watching the Expos as a kid. Duke Snider used to be the analyst for the games on TV. Duke just passed away this year.
Only you would have come up with this one Kevin! Very intuitive thinking, and interesting, like always! Funny too because on our recent road trip to present the Tip O’Neill award to Joey Votto, we stopped in Cleveland on the way, so we saw Phillips and Cabrera on back-to-back nights. Cabrera wasn’t one of my favourites. Carroll, on the other hand, was one of my favourites – total class. It’s not only a shame that the Expos left Canada, but a bigger shame when those not in the know perceive it to be because of their fans. Montreal had great baseball fans, always. It was the industry that was broken, and dams burst at their weakest point. The Expos, due to location and the value of the dollar, not to mention the straw that broke their back for good (the strike in ’94 when they were the best team in baseball), were the weakest franchise.
Thanks for the comment, Tom. Carroll seems be well liked. I looked at his stats with the Ottawa Lynx and they were solid but not remarkable. Do you know why his number was retired by the Lynx?
Until I started reading your blog, I never appreciated what a rich baseball history Montreal has had — going back decades before the Expos even existed. Do you think it’s just a matter of time before they get another team?
Thanks for the comment, Charles. Montreal has a tremendous baseball history. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is much of a chance of baseball returning to the city in the foreseeable future. There is talk that the Jays might play an exhibition game in Montreal. But some say that won’t fly.
In that regard, I disagree with you regarding the foreseeable future. After all things can change in an instant that might increase the chances of baseball’s return to Montreal in the near future.
If you’re wondering why it might happen, consider the surprising turn of events that have now befallen the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. The most promising potential owner of the club has withdrawn his offer to buy the team, which has raised the possibility for the club to move out of Arizona. And it’s been rumored that it might move to Quebec City, among other destinations.
Here’s a link to a news story about the Coyotes situation:
Loved the Expos. I have been watching them since 1980, up to the end. It was very sad to see how poorly the team was managed after the strike of 1994. I personally think that Labatt stadium would have saved them, including the revenue sharing.