The Expos-Jays World Series matchup that was not to be in 1987 (or ever)

At the start of September 1987, the Montreal Expos were getting hot at the right time, which was firing up the team's fanbase.

In September of 1987, it seemed Canada could see 2 teams headed to the MLB post-season

Midday co-host Valerie Pringle is seen introducing an interview with Buck Rodgers, which aired on the current affairs program in September of 1987. (Midday/CBC Archives)

The Montreal Expos were getting hot at the right time, which was firing up the team's fanbase.

"Montreal fans are getting pennant fever," Midday's Valerie Pringle told viewers on Sept. 10, 1987, a time when the team sat just two games out of first place.

"Now fans need a program this year to tell some of the players [apart], there's so many new ones — but they're getting used to being serious pennant contenders."

As Pringle explained, the team's manager, Buck Rodgers, was getting a lot of credit for the team's performance — and he made time to talk to Midday about the wild ride the ever-improving Expos were on.

'They just don't like to lose'

Will the Expos make it to the playoffs?

34 years ago
In September 1987, the manager of the Montreal Expos, Buck Rodgers, talked to CBC's Midday about the possibility of the team making the playoffs. 4:57

"These guys are playing good and they surprise me every day," said Rodgers, answering a question from Bill Good, who was co-hosting Midday that day with Pringle.

"I know these guys can play baseball, but they just don't like to lose."

Rodgers said it wasn't any one factor that put the Expos in a good position late in the season, other than improved fortunes as the months had gone by.

"We've just kind of had a steady climb," said Rodgers, who spoke to Midday from his office at the team's home diamond in Olympic Stadium.

An all-Canadian World Series...

Buck Rodgers told the CBC's Bill Good that the Montreal Expos had simply seen a steady rise in the team's fortunes during the 1987 MLB season. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Of course, there was another Canadian baseball club doing very well at that time — that would be the Toronto Blue Jays — and that set up the possibility of a very interesting post-season.

"We'd like to see Toronto and Montreal go head-to-head in the World Series," said Rodgers, when considering the scenario.

He noted that such a matchup could help raise the profile of the game of baseball in a country where hockey tended to command greater attention.

"We know that hockey is the number 1 sport in Canada, but we feel that something like a World Series between Toronto and Montreal would really put baseball on the map and get people talking," said Rodgers.

"We don't expect to replace hockey, we just want to be right there close behind it."

...that remained a dream

In this March 22, 1990 photo, Montreal Expos manager Buck Rodgers (left) is seen chatting with team owner Charles Bronfman (right) during spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Alas, the Expos would finish the season with a 91-71 record, which put them in third place.

They missed the playoffs, which meant any dream of meeting the Blue Jays in the finals was dead — and besides, Toronto went 0-7 to end the season and missed out on the post-season as well.

The Blue Jays would get to the World Series eventually, winning back-to-back championship titles in 1992 and 1993.

But the Expos never got there, though there will always be what-if questions about their 1994 season, which was abruptly ended by a strike.

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