Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Love the 80s : 1981 Montreal Expos

It's gonna be sad to talk about the Expos during this series on 1980s cardboard - I really hope that the Expos can come back some day. In 1980, the Expos finished second in the NL East with a 90-72 record. They were led by a very fleet of foot outfield, a Hall of Fame Catcher in his prime, and a rotation that blended youth and experience. 
 In 1981, the Expos made the postseason and defeated the defending champion Phillies in the Divisional series, but lost to eventual 1981 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in a very hard fought NLCS. Here are my favorite cards of Expos in 1981. Quick story on Ron LeFlore - I realize that is a White Sox card, but I wanted to include another card with the Expos' home uniform, and this was one of the better examples.

The Cards:

Donruss # 89 Larry Parrish - Parrish was the regular 3rd Baseman for the Expos in 1980 and 1981, missing significant time after being hit by a pitch on his wrist.

Fleer #148 Ellis Valentine - Valentine's 22 homers in 1980 marked the third straight season of 20+ homers, and he was just 26 years old. He ended up being traded to the Mets during the first half of the 1981 season for pitching help.

Fleer Star Stickers #123 Andre Dawson -  The Hawk had a bit of a down year in 1980 compared to his 1978 Rookie of the Year campaign, but he still won his first silver slugger award and first Gold Glove. They would be the first of many for the Hall of Famer. 1981 would mark his first All-Star appearance.

O-Pee-Chee #6 Gary Carter - The Kid pretty much killed it in 1980 and 81. He won his first of 3 straight Gold Gloves behind the plate, finished 2nd the MVP balloting (his highest finish), and enjoyed a pair of All-Star appearances. The Hall of Famer was the on field leader of the team.

Topps Traded #816 Tim Raines - I decided to use this Topps card instead the O-P-C card with three Expos rookies on it.

O-Pee-Chee #244 Ellis Valentine - The modified facemask that Ellis wore on his helmet makes this one of my favorite cards of the decade.

Fleer #143 Steve Rogers - Rogers was the Expos Ace in 1980 and 1981, and was a life-long Montreal Expo. He led the National League in complete games in 1980 and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. He would go on to lead the league in ERA in 1982, and finished his 13 year career in 1985.

Donruss # 538 Tim Raines -  Rock. His career was just getting started in 80/81 - playing in just 15 games for the Expos in 1980, but he was the Minor League Player of the Year. In 1981, he took over Left Field for the Expos and stole 71 bases in just 88 games. He would go on to steal at least 70 in his first 6 full seasons. He should be in the Hall of Fame, hopefully that will be fixed next year.

Donruss # 576 Ron LeFlore - It would be hard to imagine it, but Raines' stolen base totals were actually a drastic reduction from the totals of the 1980 Expos Left Fielder, Ron LeFlore. He stole 97 bases in 1980 for Montreal. He came to the majors with Detroit and then Tigers Manager Billy Martin gave the 26 year old a chance at redemption. LeFlore had a checkered past, but his talent on the field was never in doubt. LeFlore took the opportunity and despite a late start he ran with it. By the time he stole 97 bases for the Expos, he was already 32 years old. With the speedy Raines coming up and seemingly no place for LeFlore in the Expos Outfield, he was allowed to test free agency. He returned to the AL and played his final two seasons for the White Sox.


  1. Besides Raines being a Birthday Day binder guy, he'd of made the Hall Worthy Binders anyways. I hope his shrine time has come.