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Will Toronto ever get a baseball franchise?

The Story


In January 1976, Metro Toronto chair Paul Godfrey thought he had a major league baseball team for Toronto. But the U.S. courts quash a deal to purchase the National League's San Francisco Giants. When the American League offers Toronto an expansion franchise, the deal is threatened by an unexpected interloper: U.S. President Gerald Ford, who demands a team in Washington first. As we see in this clip, the bid to get a Toronto team seems jinxed.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: April 4, 1976
Guest(s): Paul Godfrey
Reporter: Suzanne Howden
Duration: 2:03

Did You know?


• Toronto was eventually awarded an American League expansion franchise, but many Toronto fans would have preferred to see the "Toronto Giants." Purchasing the team from San Francisco would have given Toronto an established franchise; instead, they had to build up a team from scratch using players waived from other teams. It also would have likely put Toronto in the National League east where a rivalry with the Expos could have been fostered.

• Washington was the home of one of the original eight American League teams. The Washington Senators won three pennants and one World Series, but finished in or near last place 33 times. In 1961 they moved to Minnesota and are now the Twins.

• Both the National and American Leagues ignored Ford's wishes and Washington had no Major League Baseball franchise until the demise of the Expos in 2004.

• Paul Godfrey was chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and created the Sun Media Corporation newspaper group. In 1977 he successfully brought the major leagues to Toronto with the establishment of the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2003 he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Jays.


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