Fete Nationale – A Brief History of Quebec Pro Ball
June 24 is a holiday in Quebec and I have very recently moved to Quebec but amongst the barbeque and ‘biere’ I managed to do a little research.
During my research I found an amazing website at http://quebec.sabr.org/. All Canadian baseball fans would dig it. Some is en francais some has been translated. All baseball fans know of the Expos and probably have also heard about the Montreal Royals. The Montreal Royals development had paralleled organised baseball. However, there is a rich history of pro ball in La Belle Provence. When the Expos joined the Majors in 1969 the Eastern League opened up Quebec. For Canadians, the Can-Am league is the most popular during the 1940s as well as the success the new Can-Am League has experienced. The Royals were in the IL until 1961 when they moved to Syracuse. the Provincial League was successful and even had some teams become affiliated. From 1948-1955 the Provincial League had some affiliation. This was during a swell in minor leagues. Many teams had 15-20 minor league teams. The Provincial League was Class C. Also, at a lower level the Saguneay League had some success in a short season in the North. Both these leagues operated in the 1940s-1960. Here is a run down of the teams that called Quebec home. I have left out the numberous teams from the local pro leagues.
Quebec City – the Capital city of Quebec. Is the second largest city and currently has around 500,000 people. All these teams played in the beautiful and historic Municipal Stadium. Unfortunetley, Quebec City is far north and is unaccessable to most US cities. Currently, the Can-Am Capitales are popular and in the short season independent league they have experienced success.
Quebec Athletics Can-Am 1941-42
Quebec Alouettes (Larks) Can-Am 46-48
Quebec Braves Can-Am 49-50
Quebec Carnivales Eastern League 1971-75
Quebec Metroes Eastern League 1976-1977 – Montreal Expos AA Affilate
Quebec Capitales Can-Am League 2000-present
Trois Rivieres – is a city on th north shore of the St. Lawrence almost half way between Montreal and Quebec City. The present population is about 100,000. All T-R teams played at the T-R Municipal Stadium. It is identical to the more famous twin in Quebec. Talk about cookie cutters.
Trois Rivieres Renards (Foxes) – Can-Am 41-41
Trois Rivieres Royals – Can-Am 46-50 Dodgers, League Champs in 1946
Trois-Rivieres Aigles (Eagles) – 1971-1977 – Cincinnati Reds AA affiliate
Trois-Rivieres Saints – Canadian League 2003
Montreal – A city of over 2 million, it has a rich history in baseball. The Montreal Royals were in existence in the IL and its precursor leagues since the 19th century. They hold the record for most IL Championships even having been disbanded since 1961. The Royals are more famous for giving all-time greats Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente their starts. The Royals were always the Brooklyn AAA affiliate and when the Dodgers moved west it became uneconomical for the Royals to remain. The Royals played their home gmes downtown at a classic park, Delormier Downs. In 1969 the NL Expos became the first ML team outside the USA. The Expos struggled for their 35 years in Montreal. They appeared in the playoffs once. They moved to Washington after the 2004 season.
Montreal Royals Internation League 1896-1961
Montreal Expos National League 1969-2004
Sherbrooke – A meium sized city just north of Lake Champlain on the NY-Vermont frontier. Not too much to say here.
Sherbrooke Pirates Eastern League – 1972-1973 – Pittsburgh Pirates AA Affiliate
Montreal Royales Canadian League 2003
Sherbrooke Canadiens – Border League 1946
Thetford Mines – An aesbestos mining town north of the Maine border and little south of Quebec City. Seems bizzare that the Pirates and Brewers would even try. Doubt it was worth the try.
Thetford Mines Pirates – Eastern League 1974 – Pittsburgh Pirates AA affiliate
Thetford Mines Miners – Eastern League 1975 – Milwaukee Brewers AA affiliate
Granby – Small city just south of Montreal
Granby Red Sox Border League 1946 – Boston affiliate.
So there you have it. Most of the pro teams that have played in Quebec. You must check out the http://quebec.sabr.org/ website. It gives full listings of players who played for these teams that made it to the majors and some other records. There is also comprehensive coverage of the Provincial League, Can-Am League and Quebec born stars.