1981 Montreal Expos season
The 1981 Montreal Expos season was the 13th season in franchise history. They made it to the postseason for the first time in franchise history (the only time while the franchise was in Montreal, and the only time in franchise history until the Washington Nationals made the playoffs in 2012). The season was separated into two halves due to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike.
|1981 Montreal Expos|
|NL East Champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||John McHale|
|Manager(s)||Dick Williams, Jim Fanning|
|Local television||CBC Television|
(Dave Van Horne, Duke Snider)
Télévision de Radio-Canada
(Jean-Pierre Roy, Guy Ferron)
|Local radio||CFCF (English)|
(Dave Van Horne, Duke Snider, Ron Reusch)
(Claude Raymond, Jacques Doucet)
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- December 8, 1980: Jack O'Connor was drafted from the Expos by the Minnesota Twins in the rule 5 draft.
- December 12, 1980: Tony Bernazard was traded by the Expos to the Chicago White Sox for Rich Wortham.
- December 12, 1980: Willie Montañez was signed as a free agent by the Expos.
- January 15, 1981: Ken Macha was purchased from the Expos by the Toronto Blue Jays.
- February 18, 1981: Ray Burris was signed as a free agent by the Expos.
After holding spring training at City Island Ball Park in Daytona Beach, Florida, from 1973 to 1980, the Expos returned to West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach, Florida – a facility they shared with the Atlanta Braves – for spring training in 1981. It was their fifth season at the stadium; they also had conducted spring training there from 1969 to 1972. The Expos would train at Municipal Stadium through 1997.
- April 29, 1981: Steve Carlton struck out Tim Wallach for the 3000th strikeout of his career.
- May 10, 1981: Charlie Lea pitched a no hitter against the San Francisco Giants, defeating them 4-0 at Olympic Stadium. The last out was recorded by Andre Dawson in center field. Lea would go on to shut out the Giants again a week later on four hits in San Francisco for good measure.
|1981 Regular Season Game Log First Half (30–25) (Home: 21–7; Road: 9–18)|
April (12–4) (Home: 8–0; Road: 4–4)
May (14–15) (Home: 10–7; Road: 4–8)
June (4–6) (Home: 3–0; Road: 1–6)
|1981 Games cancelled|
|1981 Regular Season Game Log Second Half (30–23) (Home: 17–11; Road: 13–12)|
August (11–8) (Home: 6–3; Road: 5–5)
September (16–14) (Home: 11–8; Road: 5–6)
October (3–1) (Road: 3–1)
|Expos win||Expos loss||All-Star Game||Game postponed|
|St. Louis Cardinals||59||43||0.578||—||32–21||27–22|
|New York Mets||41||62||0.398||18½||24–27||17–35|
First Half Standings
|St. Louis Cardinals||30||20||.600|
|New York Mets||17||34||.333|
Second Half Standings
|St. Louis Cardinals||29||23||.558|
|New York Mets||24||28||.462|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
1981 National League Records
Sources:            
- April 1, 1981: John Tamargo was released by the Expos.
- May 29, 1981: Ellis Valentine was traded by the Expos to the New York Mets for Jeff Reardon and Dan Norman.
- June 8, 1981: 1981 Major League Baseball draft
- August 20, 1981: Willie Montañez was traded by the Expos to the Pittsburgh Pirates for John Milner.
Major League debutsEdit
- Terry Francona (Aug 19)
- Mike Gates (May 6)
- Dave Hostetler (Sep 15)
- Tony Johnson (Sep 27)
- Wallace Johnson (Sep 8)
- Pat Rooney (Sep 9)
- Chris Smith (May 14)
- Tom Wieghaus (Oct 4)
- Rick Engle (Sep 2)
- Tom Gorman (Sep 2)
- Bryn Smith (Sep 8)
Opening Day startersEdit
- Gary Carter
- Warren Cromartie
- Andre Dawson
- Larry Parrish
- Tim Raines
- Steve Rogers
- Rodney Scott
- Chris Speier
- Ellis Valentine
|1981 Montreal Expos|
Starters by positionEdit
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
|1981 Playoff Game Log|
1981 National League Eastern Division Series vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Montreal wins series 3–2
1981 National League Championship Series vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Los Angeles wins series 3–2
|Expos win||Expos loss||Game postponed|
National League Division SeriesEdit
Montreal Expos vs. Philadelphia PhilliesEdit
Montreal wins series, 3-2.
|1||Montreal 3, Philadelphia 1||October 7|
|2||Montreal 3, Philadelphia 1||October 8|
|3||Philadelphia 6, Montreal 2||October 9|
|4||Philadelphia 6, Montreal 5 (10 innings)||October 10|
|5||Montreal 3, Philadelphia 0||October 11|
- October 11, 1981 – Steve Rogers defeats Steve Carlton of the Phillies 3-0 in a pitchers duel to win the National League Division Series. Rogers drove in two of the three Expos runs to boot singling home Larry Parrish and Chris Speier in the fifth inning. The Expos advance to play the Dodgers who defeated the Astros. Rogers previously defeated Carlton in game one of the series as well.
National League Championship SeriesEdit
October 13, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
|WP: Burt Hooton (1-0) LP: Bill Gullickson (0-1)|
LAD: Pedro Guerrero (1), Mike Scioscia (1)
Notes: Pitchers: MON – Gullickson, Reardon (8) LAD – Hooton, Welch (8), Howe (9)
October 14, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
|WP: Ray Burris (1-0) LP: Fernando Valenzuela (0-1)|
Notes: Pitchers: MON – Burris LAD – Valenzuela, Niedenfuer (7), Forster (7), Pena (7), Castillo (9)
|WP: Steve Rogers (1-0) LP: Jerry Reuss (0-1)|
MON: Jerry White (1)
Notes: Pitchers: LAD – Reuss, Pena (8) MON – Rogers
|WP: Burt Hooton (2-0) LP: Bill Gullickson (0-2)|
LAD: Steve Garvey (1)
Attendance: Attendance: 54,499
Notes: Pitchers: LAD – Hooton, Welch (8), Howe (9) MON – Gullickson, Fryman (8), Sosa (9), Lee (9)
|WP: Fernando Valenzuela (1-1) LP: Steve Rogers (1-1) Sv: Bob Welch (1)|
LAD: Rick Monday (1)
Attendance: Attendance: 36,491
Notes: Pitchers: LAD – Valenzuela, Welch (9) MON – Burris, Rogers (9)
- October 19, 1981: Blue Monday. In the decisive Game 5 of their only National League Championship Series, the Expos were defeated at home, 2-1, by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tim Raines opened the bottom of the first with a double against Cy Young Award-winning rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela and scored on an Andre Dawson double play ball. Valenzuela held the Expos scoreless the rest of the way, however, and the Dodgers tied the game at 1 in the top of the fifth with two hits, a wild pitch and an RBI ground out off Expo starter Ray Burris. The teams remained tied until the top of the ninth, when Expo manager Jim Fanning made a risky decision to relieve Burris with Game 3 winner Steve Rogers. Struggling closer Jeff Reardon was throwing alongside Rogers in the bullpen at the time, but Fanning elected to summon his ace. Rogers retired Steve Garvey and Ron Cey in order, but outfielder Rick Monday homered to put Los Angeles ahead, 2-1, and crush the Expos' hopes of advancing to the World Series. Two-out walks from Gary Carter and Larry Parrish were all that the Expos could muster in the 9th, as Bob Welch preserved the one-run Dodger victory. The Expos lost the NLCS, 3-2, and never returned to the postseason again until 2012 as the Washington Nationals.
Awards and honorsEdit
52nd Major League Baseball All-Star GameEdit
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Denver
- Jack O'Connor at Baseball-Reference
- Tony Bernazard at Baseball-Reference
- Willie Montañez at Baseball-Reference
- Ken Macha at Baseball-Reference
- Ray Burris at Baseball-Reference
- Steve Carlton | The Baseball Page
- John Tamargo at Baseball-Reference
- Jeff Reardon at Baseball-Reference
- Mike Fuentes at Baseball-Reference
- Mark McGwire at Baseball-Reference
- Marvin Freeman at Baseball-Reference
- Al Newman at Baseball-Reference
- "1981 Montreal Expos". The Baseball Cube.
- Stolen Bases Single Season National League Leaders by Baseball Almanac