Sports April 7
IMAGES OF THE DAY: Opening Day, 1977

On April 7, 1977, Canada welcomed its second professional baseball team to the major leagues in typical fashion: With snow, Anne Murray and government regulation.

The Toronto Blue Jays played their first home game 35 years ago today, defeating the Chicago White Sox 9-5 at Exhibition Stadium. Although the Jays could not yet claim to be Canada's Team (a designation that had belonged to the Montreal Expos since 1969), there was no denying where the game was taking place: From the snow (which had to be cleared from the field, Zamboni-style), to Murray's performance of the national anthem, to the fact that Ontario government regulations prohibited the sale of beer at the park, the Jays' home opener had a distinctively Canadian feel.

Toronto's The Grid recently shared some images from the home opener, with an accompanying essay by Jamie Bradburn looking back at the dawn of a new era in Canadian baseball:



Images from the Toronto Star Archives

The Archives of Ontario also shared this souvenir poster from the Jays' inaugural season, showcasing cutting edge design of both graphics and baseball uniforms:


(Speaking of those uniforms, the National Post's Scott Stinson recently posted a very helpful look at the circular evolution of the Blue Jays' logo.)

A lot has happened since the Blue Jays took to that snowy field 35 years ago: The team left Exhibition Stadium for the retractable-roofed SkyDome in 1989; the Expos left Montreal for Washington, D.C. in 2004, leaving Toronto as the only Canadian city with a major league team; and the Jays won the World Series twice, in 1992 and 1993.

To give you some perspective, here is a TV report celebrating the team's 15th anniversary from 1992, when some of the biggest developments in Blue Jays history had yet to even happen:

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous will be in the red chair Tuesday night, when he'll talk to George about the team's place in Canadian baseball.

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The Toronto Blue Jays took to the field for the first time 35 years ago today, in typical Canadian fashion: amid snow, Anne Murray, and government regulation about beer drinking ...

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