In search of Jarry Park, but finding Gary Carter

Overview of Forbes Field
Jarry Park, the first home of the Montreal Expos.

While on a family vacation to Canada a few months ago — nine, actually — my son, Nicholas, and I tried to find Jarry Park, the first home of the Montreal Expos. We didn’t find it.

We did find this:

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An entrance to IGA Stadium, the tennis stadium that replaced Jarry Park. (Phillip Tutor)

And this (yes, that finger pointing to the sun):

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A display of public art outside IGA Stadium. (Phillip Tutor)

Until recently, I had seen several photographs but little video of the Expos at Jarry Park. Buy voila! I found this gem — a 1970 Pirates-Expos game that featured Roberto Clemente, Rusty Staub and Willie Stargell.

Jarry Park was, like the Tim Hortons coffee that Canadians rave over, a disappointment. The Expos played there from 1969 to 1976, losing often amid Quebec’s cold springs and falls, and then moved into Olympic Stadium after the ’76 Olympic Games.

For our journey, Nicholas and I started at the Big O and took the Montreal subway, riding north to find the apartment Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel, rented when he played Triple-A baseball in Montreal before he famously broke the MLB color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. We found it, and the plaque.

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A side note: I’d seen photographs but scant video of the Expos’ time at Jarry Park, but voila! I recently ran across this 1970 Expos-Pirates game that featured Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Rusty Staub.

After leaving the Robinsons’ apartment, we walked about 15 minutes to Jarry Park (the city park, not the baseball stadium) that’s still there today. In fact, Montreal turned the baseball stadium into a tennis stadium in the early 1980s. It’s now known as IGA Stadium. And the city park that surrounds the tennis facility is a maze of outdoor activities — walking trails, running tracks and, yes, the swimming pool.

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The public swimming pool that sat just beyond right field at Jarry Park is still there. (Phillip Tutor)

My favorite part of our journey?

As we approached Jarry Park, I noticed a street sign honoring the late Hall of Famer Gary Carter, who broke in with the Expos at Jarry Park in 1974. It’s baseball history, hard to find, nailed to a Quebec telephone pole.

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Rue Gary-Carter in north Montreal. (Phillip Tutor)

Author: Phillip Tutor

Baseball fan. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Raised on baseball in Memphis. Faux expert on baseball in Alabama. Lifetime .200 hitter, good glove, below-average arm.

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