Pearson Cup

Pearson Cup
Teams
  • Montreal Expos
  • Toronto Blue Jays
First meeting June 29, 1978
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada
Expos 5, Blue Jays 4
Latest meeting July 4, 2004
Estadio Hiram Bithorn, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Expos 6, Blue Jays 4
Statistics
Meetings total 43
Regular season series 24–19, Blue Jays
Largest victory 142, Blue Jays (June 22, 1998)
Longest win streak
  • Expos: 4 games (June 14, 2002June 28, 2002)
  • Blue Jays: 6 games (July 2, 1997–June 4, 1999)
Current win streak defunct

The Pearson Cup (French: Coupe Pearson) was an annual midseason Major League Baseball rivalry between former Canadian rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. Named after former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, it was originally created to raise money for minor league baseball in Canada. In later years, it was incorporated into the interleague baseball schedule.

The series began in 1978, and ran until 1986.[1] Due to a strike, no game was played in 1981.[2] In 2003 the series was revived as part of the Blue Jays-Expos interleague rivalry.[3] It continued on into the 2004 season, after which the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The cup is now on display in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary's, Ontario.

Results

From 1978 to 1986, the Cup was awarded after a one-game exhibition, that had no effect on the major league standings. The 1979 and 1985 games were abandoned as ties due to time constraints; in 1979 the Expos had to catch an airplane flight,[4] while in 1985 the Jays had to catch a flight.[5][6]

The game was suspended in 1987 as the two teams could not find a mutually agreeable date to play the game.[7] There was discussion about reviving the game in the preseason, or playing it in another Canadian city such as Vancouver, but this never took place.[8][9][10]

During the 2003 and 2004 series, the Cup was awarded after a six-game set, three in Toronto and three in Montreal.[3] These games did count toward the major league standings and were during the regular season

Single exhibition games
 Season  Date   Location   Visiting team  Runs   Home team   Attendance   Ref   Cumulative
record 
1978June 29Olympic StadiumToronto4–5 (10)Montreal20,221[11]Montreal 1–0–0
1979April 19Exhibition StadiumMontreal4–4 (11)Toronto21,564[4]Montreal 1–0–1
1980July 31Olympic StadiumToronto1–3Montreal6,731[12]Montreal 2–0–1
1981July 6Exhibition StadiumCancelled due to players' strike[2][13]Montreal 2–0–1
1982September 2Exhibition StadiumMontreal7–3Toronto23,102[14]Montreal 3–0–1
1983May 5Olympic StadiumToronto7–5Montreal8,291[15]Montreal 3–1–1
1984May 24Exhibition StadiumMontreal5–6 (13)Toronto24,768[16]Montreal 3–2–1
1985May 9Olympic StadiumToronto2–2 (11)Montreal11,075[5]Montreal 3–2–2
1986April 28Exhibition StadiumMontreal2–5Toronto16,786[17]Tied 3–3–2
Regular season series
 Season   Date   Location  Visiting team  Games  Home team  Average
Attendance
 Ref   Series   Cumulative
record 
2003June 20–22Olympic StadiumToronto2–1Montreal12,782[18]Tied
3-3
Tied 3-3-3
June 27–29SkyDomeMontreal2–1Toronto31,571
2004June 25–27SkyDomeMontreal1–2Toronto22,091[19]Tied
3-3
Tied 3-3-4
July 2–4Hiram Bithorn Stadium
(San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Toronto1–2Montreal8,443

The All-Canadian Series

The Blue Jays and Expos first played meaningful baseball in the 1997 season with the introduction of interleague play.[20] In 1997, the teams played three games at Toronto; the two teams played home and home series for the first time in 1998. The series was a decided boost to the paltry attendance numbers at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and gave a modest increase in attendance at SkyDome in Toronto; it failed, however, to become a serious rivalry amongst the players or the fans.[1] Some people attribute this to a lack of Canadian players on both teams, while others point to the general discontent of Canadians with Major League Baseball during the late 1990s and early 2000s.[1][21]

Major League Baseball put the final nail in the Series' coffin by playing the final set between the Jays and Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico instead of Montreal. Major League Baseball's intention to boost attendance by playing in San Juan ended up resulting in lower attendance than the series had attracted in Montreal a year earlier.[22][23][24]

The All-Canadian Series ended after 2004 when the Expos were relocated and became known as the Washington Nationals.[25][26] The Blue Jays won the series 24 games to 19 games, and Toronto also won the most season series (3-2-2).[27]

List of games

Regular season games
 Season   Date   Location  Visiting team  Score  Home team  Attendance  Ref  Series
1997June 30SkydomeMontreal2 – 1Toronto37,430[28]Montreal 2-1
July 1Montreal2 – 1Toronto50,436[29]
July 2Montreal6 – 7 (13)Toronto34,176[30]
1998June 22SkydomeMontreal2 – 14Toronto33,132[31]Toronto 4-0
June 23Montreal2 – 3Toronto33,492[32]
June 24Olympic StadiumToronto7 – 6Montreal16,515[33]
June 25Toronto1 – 0Montreal9,256[34]
1999June 4SkydomeMontreal2 – 6Toronto24,147[35]Toronto 4-2
June 5Montreal5 – 0Toronto28,112[36]
June 6Montreal2 – 9Toronto24,392[37]
July 9Olympic StadiumToronto3 – 4Montreal10,091[38]
July 10Toronto7 – 6Montreal15,005[39]
July 11Toronto1 – 0Montreal15,201[40]
2000June 9SkydomeMontreal3 – 13Toronto26,122[41]Toronto 4-2
June 10Montreal11 – 2Toronto30,239[42]
June 11Montreal3 – 8Toronto25,838[43]
July 7Olympic StadiumToronto5 – 10Montreal13,317[44]
July 8Toronto6 – 3Montreal17,420[45]
July 9Toronto13 – 3Montreal22,489[46]
2001June 15Olympic StadiumToronto9 – 3Montreal8,692[47]Tied 3-3
June 16Toronto2 – 7Montreal11,113[48]
June 17Toronto1 – 4Montreal8,440[49]
July 6SkydomeMontreal10 – 7Toronto20,074[50]
July 7Montreal8 – 9 (11)Toronto23,976[51]
July 8Montreal3 – 9Toronto31,012[52]
2002June 14Olympic StadiumToronto2 – 8Montreal7,557[53]Montreal 4-2
June 15Toronto3 – 9Montreal12,474[54]
June 16Toronto5 – 6Montreal15,425[55]
June 28SkydomeMontreal2 – 1Toronto20,848[56]
June 29Montreal4 – 5 (10)Toronto24,344[57]
June 30Montreal5 – 7Toronto24,965[58]
2003June 20Olympic StadiumToronto8 – 4Montreal11,355[59]Tied 3-3
June 21Toronto5 – 8Montreal11,483[60]
June 22Toronto4 – 2Montreal15,508[61]
June 27SkydomeMontreal5 – 6Toronto24,024[62]
June 28Montreal4 – 2Toronto33,334[63]
June 29Montreal10 – 2Toronto37,354[64]
2004June 25SkydomeMontreal1 – 3Toronto16,484[65]Tied 3-3
June 26Montreal5 – 10Toronto23,875[66]
June 27Montreal9 – 4Toronto25,915[67]
July 2Estadio Hiram BithornToronto0 – 2Montreal8,220[68]
July 3Toronto2 – 0Montreal8,831[69]
July 4Toronto4 – 6Montreal8,279[70]
TotalsToronto: 24 wins, Montreal 19 wins

2005 season

When the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, Major League Baseball identified the Baltimore Orioles as the Nationals′ "natural rival" for interleague play. However, the 2005 schedule already had been set, so during their 2005 season the Nationals played what would have been Montreal′s schedule, which included six games against Toronto, three of them in each city. These games would have been the next All-Canadian Series games if the Expos had remained in Montreal for the 2005 season. The Blue Jays and Nationals went 3-3 against one another in the games in 2005. In 2006, Washington began annual interleague play against Baltimore in what became known as the "Beltway Series," while Toronto began play against its new interleague "natural rivals," the Atlanta Braves in odd-numbered years and the Philadelphia Phillies in even-numbered years.

Neutral-site games

The Blue Jays played a number of exhibition games at BC Place in Vancouver including three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers prior to both the 1984 and 1985 seasons[71][72] (the Vancouver Canadians were the AAA farm team of the Brewers at the time[73]), as well as single games against the Detroit Tigers and Brewers in 1993[74][75] and against the Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners in 1994 in a series billed as the "Baseball Classic".[76][77][78][79] The Jays also played the Cleveland Indians in an exhibition game at War Memorial Stadium in nearby Buffalo, New York in 1987.[80] More recently, the club has hosted a pair of exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal prior to the start of the season against the New York Mets (2014),[81] Cincinnati Reds (2015),[82] Boston Red Sox (2016),[83] Pittsburgh Pirates (2017),[84] and St. Louis Cardinals (2018).[85][86] The club also has discussed playing more games at BC Place with the president of the Vancouver Canadians.[87][88][89]

Notes

  • Canadian Bill Atkinson was the winning pitcher and scored the winning run for the Expos in the first-ever Pearson Cup game at the Olympic Stadium in 1978.
  • Pedro Martínez was the winning pitcher on June 30, 1997, in the first game of 'The All-Canadian Series', pitching 9 innings, striking out 10, walking one.[28]

See also

References

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