Le Grande Orange
One of my greatest birthday presents ever was an Expos uniform. I wore it whenever I could—running around the backyard, watching TV, or eating dinner. To my horror, I started outgrowing it. Eventually, it got handed off to a cousin, or something. *Sigh*.
We had the heady days of the 80s when Gary Carter, Timmy Raines and Andre Dawson ruled the field. My buddy and I would skip afternoon class and sit in the bleachers. Often, we were the only ones there. But we didn’t care. We loved the Expos.
But some of my best memories were trips to the old Jarry Park with my dad. It was a small stadium, but had a character that the Olympic Stadium—the “Big O”—lacked. Back in the late 60s and early 70s Montreal was baseball-happy.
It was thanks to Rusty Staub.
Traded from the Houston Astros, Rusty was the Expos first true star, and their most popular player. Despite only playing for a few seasons, he was the franchise’s career leader in on-base percentage.
Nicknamed “Le Grand Orange” for his red hair, Rusty also immersed himself in the language and culture of Montreal.
Sadly, Rusty passed away on March 29, 2018.
I think I can speak for all his fans when I say: Thanks, Rusty!