1981 National League Championship Series

The 1981 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five series between the first-half West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the second-half East Division champion Montreal Expos. The Dodgers won the NLCS three games to two over the Expos, thanks to a ninth-inning home run in Game 5 by Rick Monday in what has ever since been referred to as Blue Monday by Expos fans.

1981 National League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Los Angeles Dodgers (3) Tommy Lasorda 36–21, .632, GA: ½ (1st half)
27–26, .509, GB: 6 (2nd half)
Montreal Expos (2) Jim Fanning 30–25, .545, GB: 4 (1st half)
30–23, .566, GA: ½ (2nd half)
DatesOctober 13–19
MVPBurt Hooton (Los Angeles)
UmpiresPaul Pryor, Eric Gregg, Paul Runge, Dutch Rennert, Harry Wendelstedt, Joe West
SRC (French-language broadcast)
KTTV (Dodgers' broadcast)
TV announcersNBC: Dick Enberg and Tom Seaver
CBC: Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider
SRC: Jean-Pierre Roy and Guy Ferron
KTTV: Vin Scully, Jerry Doggett, and Ross Porter
Radio announcersJack Buck and Jerry Coleman


Due to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, a team had to win two postseason series in order to go to the World Series. Teams that finished first in their division in the first and second halves of the season advanced to the postseason. This was the first year the baseball postseason had three rounds, an arrangement that would permanently return beginning with the 1995 season. The Expos advanced to the NLCS after defeating the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Division Series three games to two, and the Dodgers made their way to the NLCS after beating the Houston Astros three games to two in the NLDS.

This was also only the third NLCS that did not feature either the Phillies or their cross-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates, the other two being 1973 and 1969. In both of those years the Phillies rival New York Mets won the NL East and the pennant, beating the Baltimore Orioles in the '69 World Series and losing to the Oakland A's in '73.


Montreal Expos vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles won the series, 3–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 13 Montreal Expos – 1, Los Angeles Dodgers – 5 Dodger Stadium 2:47 51,273[1] 
2 October 14 Montreal Expos – 3, Los Angeles Dodgers – 0 Dodger Stadium 2:48 53,463[2] 
3 October 16 Los Angeles Dodgers – 1, Montreal Expos – 4 Olympic Stadium 2:27 54,372[3] 
4 October 17 Los Angeles Dodgers – 7, Montreal Expos – 1 Olympic Stadium 3:14 54,499[4] 
5 October 19 Los Angeles Dodgers – 2, Montreal Expos – 1 Olympic Stadium 2:41 36,491[5]

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 13, 1981, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Montreal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 9 0
Los Angeles 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 X 5 8 0
WP: Burt Hooton (1–0)   LP: Bill Gullickson (0–1)
Home runs:
MTL: None
LAD: Pedro Guerrero (1), Mike Scioscia (1)

The Dodgers took the first game of the series behind the strong pitching of starter Burt Hooton. For the first seven innings the game stayed close, with the only scoring coming in the second inning when the Dodgers got two runs on an RBI double by Ron Cey and a squeeze bunt by Bill Russell. Hooton and reliever Bob Welch made the 2–0 lead stand up until the eighth when the Dodgers broke the game open with three more runs on back-to-back homers by Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia. The Expos got one run back in the ninth when Larry Parrish doubled home Gary Carter. But reliever Steve Howe came on for the Dodgers and got the final three outs to preserve Los Angeles' victory.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 14, 1981, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Montreal 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 10 1
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
WP: Ray Burris (1–0)   LP: Fernando Valenzuela (0–1)

Montreal's Ray Burris helped even the series with a masterful complete game shutout in Game 2. The Dodgers managed only five singles against Burris, and their only real threats, in the sixth and ninth, were foiled by double plays. Typically in what would be a very low-scoring series, the Expos didn't do much more hitting against Dodger starter Fernando Valenzuela. But Montreal did manage to push across two runs in the second on RBI hits by Warren Cromartie and Tim Raines. Montreal added another run in the sixth, aided by Dusty Baker's error in left. Burris did the rest to notch his 3–0 victory.

Game 3

Friday, October 16, 1981, at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
Montreal 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 X 4 7 1
WP: Steve Rogers (1–0)   LP: Jerry Reuss (0–1)
Home runs:
LAD: None
MTL: Jerry White (1)

Montreal got another superb pitching performance in Game 3, this time from Steve Rogers, to take a 2–1 lead in the series. Rogers allowed only a single run on a Ron Cey groundout after singles by Dusty Baker and Steve Garvey in the fourth. For a while it looked like Dodger starter Jerry Reuss might make that 1–0 score hold up. But Montreal finally rallied for four runs in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Larry Parrish and a three-run homer by Jerry White. Rogers easily preserved the 4–1 lead over the final three innings, and Montreal was now only one victory away from the World Series.

Game 4

Saturday, October 17, 1981, at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 7 12 1
Montreal 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
WP: Burt Hooton (2–0)   LP: Bill Gullickson (0–2)
Home runs:
LAD: Steve Garvey (1)
MTL: None

For the first seven innings Game 4 followed the usual pattern of the series, with dominant performances from both starting pitchers. Montreal's Bill Gullickson allowed an unearned run in the third, after Bill Russell reached on Larry Parrish's error and scored on Dusty Baker's double. Los Angeles' Burt Hooton gave up the game-tying run in the fourth on another unearned tally, when Gary Carter reached on Ron Cey's error and scored on a single by Warren Cromartie. The starters yielded nothing more until the eighth, when Steve Garvey's two-run homer put the Dodgers up 3–1 and chased Gullickson. The Dodgers blew the game open with four more runs in the ninth, highlighted by Baker's two-run single. Hooton finally tired in the eighth but the Dodger bullpen got the last five outs and the series was even.

Game 5

Monday, October 19, 1981, at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 6 0
Montreal 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
WP: Fernando Valenzuela (1–1)   LP: Steve Rogers (1–1)   Sv: Bob Welch (1)
Home runs:
LAD: Rick Monday (1)
MTL: None

After a rainout (actually a snow/cold out) on Sunday, October 18, Olympic Stadium was only two-thirds full for Game 5 on a cold and drizzly Monday afternoon, which turned out to be the series' most dramatic contest. As usual in the series, the starting pitchers dominated, with the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela and the Expos' Ray Burris. Montreal broke on top with a single run in the first when Tim Raines led off with a double and eventually scored on a double play. The Dodgers tied the game in the fifth after Rick Monday singled, went to third on a Pedro Guerrero single, and scored on a groundout. Burris finally left the game in the eighth when the Expos pinch-hit for him. Montreal brought on their ace Steve Rogers to pitch the ninth, and with two out in the inning, he gave up a homer to Monday on a 3–1 count to put the Dodgers up 2–1. The Expos got a couple of two-out walks in the bottom of the ninth off Valenzuela, but Bob Welch came on to get the final out and send the Dodgers to the World Series. It would be the final postseason game played in Montreal and it would take another 31 seasons until the franchise returned to the postseason again as the Washington Nationals.

The date came to be known as Blue Monday by Expos fans.[6][7] Expos' broadcaster Dave Van Horne described the loss as one of the lowest points in team history.[8]

Composite box

1981 NLCS (3–2): Los Angeles Dodgers over Montreal Expos

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles Dodgers 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 5 5 15 38 2
Montreal Expos 1 2 0 1 0 5 0 0 1 10 34 4
Total attendance: 250,098   Average attendance: 50,020


The Dodgers went on to defeat the New York Yankees four games to two in the 1981 World Series.

This would be the Expos' only postseason appearance—in a coincidental twist, their best subsequent opportunity prior to the team moving to Washington, D.C. was also during a strike-shortened season: when the 1994 season prematurely ended, the Expos had the best record in baseball.


  1. ^ "1981 NLCS Game 1 – Montreal Expos vs. Los Angeles Dodgers". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1981 NLCS Game 2 – Montreal Expos vs. Los Angeles Dodgers". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1981 NLCS Game 3 – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1981 NLCS Game 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1981 NLCS Game 5 – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ CBC: 2004
  7. ^ NBC: 2004. Monday, October 19, 1981. It was cold, it was damp — and it was the end of the Expos' most successful season. In Montreal, everybody just calls it Blue Monday.
  8. ^ Cowan: 2011. "Everybody who followed the Expos will remember the National League Championship Series of 1981 when they lost out on Blue Monday to the Los Angeles Dodgers," Van Horne said. "That was a low point for all of us because the team had reached an elevated stature within the National League and we were within one game of going to the World Series."

External links

1981 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers season got off to a strong start when rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela pitched a shutout on opening day, starting the craze that came to be known as "Fernandomania." Fernando went on to win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards.

The season was divided into two halves because of a players strike in mid-season. The Dodgers won the Western Division of the National League in the first half and advanced to the playoffs. They beat the Houston Astros in a divisional playoff and the Montreal Expos in the National League Championship Series before beating the New York Yankees to win the World Series.

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 National League Division Series

The 1981 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1981 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 6, and ended on Sunday, October 11. The Division Series were created on August 6 in response to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, which caused the cancellation of roughly one-third of the regular season between June 12 and August 9; by the time play was resumed, it was decided that the best approach was to have the first-half leaders automatically qualify for postseason play, and allow all the teams to begin the second half with a clean slate.

2015 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers season was the 126th for the franchise in Major League Baseball, and their 58th season in Los Angeles. The team underwent a change of direction this season as general manager Ned Colletti was fired and replaced by Farhan Zaidi and new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

The Dodgers won their third straight NL West Championship in 2015, marking the first time in franchise history they had made the playoffs three years in a row. The season ended when they lost to the New York Mets in the Division Series. The Dodgers set a major league record this season when they became the first team in history to have a payroll in excess of $300 million.

2016 National League Division Series

The 2016 National League Division Series were two best-of-five-game series to determine the participating teams in the 2016 National League Championship Series. The three divisional winners (seeded 1-3) and a fourth team—the winner of a one-game Wild Card playoff— played in two series. FS1 and MLB Network carried all the games in the United States.These matchups were:

(1) Chicago Cubs (Central Division champions) versus (5) San Francisco Giants (Wild Card Winner)

(2) Washington Nationals (East Division champions) vs (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (West Division champions)This was the second postseason meeting between the Dodgers and the Nationals franchise. Their most recent meeting was in the 1981 National League Championship Series, in which the Dodgers won the National League pennant over the then-Montreal Expos in five games. The Dodgers defeated the Nationals in five games and reached the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2013.The Cubs and Giants also met for the second time in postseason play after the Giants defeated the New York Mets 3–0 in the National League Wild Card Game. Their last meeting was in the 1989 National League Championship Series, which the Giants won in five games. However, they did meet in a Wild Card tiebreaker in 1998 where the Cubs advanced, beating the Giants 5–3. The Cubs won the Division Series three games to one and advanced to the NLCS for the second consecutive year.

Alejandro Peña

Alejandro Peña Vásquez [ah-leh-hahn'-dro / pen'-nya / vahs'-kes] (born June 25, 1959), is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. Listed at 6' 1" [1.85 m], 200 lb. [91 k], he batted and threw right-handed.

Peña made his Major League debut on August 13, 1981 (in time to be included on the roster for the 1981 National League Championship Series, but did not appear in the 1981 World Series) and made his last appearance on April 13, 1996, while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1981–1989), New York Mets (1990–1991), Atlanta Braves (1991–1992; 1995), Pittsburgh Pirates (1994), Boston Red Sox (1995) and Florida Marlins (1995; 1996).

Peña is currently the pitching coach for the Dominican Summer League Dodgers club.

Blue Monday

Blue Monday may refer to:

Blue Monday (term), workers hungover from a weekend's drinking

Blue Monday (comics), a comic book by Chynna Clugston-Major

Blue Monday (date), supposedly the most depressing day of the year

"Blue Monday" (Eureka Seven episode), the pilot episode of the anime series Eureka Seven

The last game of the 1981 National League Championship Series between the Montreal Expos and the Los Angeles Dodgers

Gary Carter

Gary Edmund Carter (April 8, 1954 – February 16, 2012) was an American professional baseball catcher whose 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career was spent primarily with the Montreal Expos and New York Mets.

Nicknamed "The Kid" for his youthful exuberance, Carter was named an All-Star 11 times, and was a member of the 1986 World Champion Mets.

Known throughout his career for his hitting and his excellent defense behind the plate, Carter made a major contribution to the Mets' World Series championship in 1986, including a 12th-inning single against the Houston Astros which won Game 5 of the NLCS and a 10th-inning single against the Boston Red Sox to start the fabled comeback rally in Game 6 of the World Series. He is one of only four people ever to be named captain of the Mets, and he had his number retired by the Expos.After retiring from baseball, Carter coached baseball at the college and minor-league level.

In 2003, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Carter was the first Hall of Famer whose plaque depicts him as a member of the Montreal Expos.

Montreal Expos

The Montreal Expos (French: Les Expos de Montréal) were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They played in the National League (NL) East Division from 1969 until 2004. Following the 2004 season, the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C., and became the Washington Nationals.

Immediately after the minor league Triple-A Montreal Royals folded in 1960, political leaders in Montreal sought an MLB franchise, and when the National League evaluated expansion candidates for the 1969 season, it awarded a team to Montreal. Named after the Expo 67 World's Fair, the Expos originally played at Jarry Park Stadium before moving to Olympic Stadium in 1977. The Expos failed to post a winning record in any of their first ten seasons. The team won its only division title in the strike-shortened 1981 season, but lost the 1981 National League Championship Series (NLCS) to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team was sold in 1991 by its majority, founding owner, Charles Bronfman, to a consortium headed by Claude Brochu. Felipe Alou was promoted to the team's field manager in 1992, becoming MLB's first Dominican-born manager. He led the team to four winning seasons, including 1994, where the Expos had the best record in baseball before a players' strike ended the season. Alou became the Expos leader in games managed (1,409).

The aftermath of the 1994 strike initiated a downward spiral as the Expos chose to sell off their best players, and attendance and interest in the team declined. Major League Baseball purchased the team prior to the 2002 season after the club failed to secure funding for a new ballpark. In their final two seasons, the team played 22 home games each year at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On September 29, 2004, MLB announced the franchise would relocate to Washington, D.C. for the 2005 season, and the Expos played their final home game in Montreal.

The Expos posted an all-time record of 2,753 wins, 2,943 losses and 4 ties during their 36 years in Montreal. Vladimir Guerrero led the franchise in both home runs and batting average, and Steve Rogers in wins and strikeouts. Three pitchers threw four no-hitters: Bill Stoneman (twice), Charlie Lea, and Dennis Martínez, who pitched the 13th official perfect game in Major League Baseball history. The Expos retired four numbers in Montreal, and nine former members have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines' plaques depicting them with Expos caps.

Rick Monday

Robert James "Rick" Monday Jr. (born November 20, 1945 in Batesville, Arkansas) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder and is currently a broadcast announcer. Monday is best remembered for saving the American flag from being burned in Dodger Stadium during the American Bicentennial and for hitting the game-winning home run in the ninth inning of the decisive game of the 1981 National League Championship Series at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Also notable is that he was the first player picked in the inaugural 1965 Major League Baseball draft.

Monday played 19 seasons for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (1966–71), Chicago Cubs (1972–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977–84). He compiled a lifetime .264 batting average, 1,619 hits, 241 home runs, and 775 RBI. He was selected an All-Star in 1968 and 1978. He batted and threw left-handed.

Warren Cromartie

Warren Livingston Cromartie (born September 29, 1953) is an American former professional baseball player best remembered for his early career with the Montreal Expos. He and fellow young outfielders Ellis Valentine and Andre Dawson were the talk of Major League Baseball (MLB) when they came up together with the Expos in the late seventies. Nicknamed "Cro", he was incredibly popular with the fans in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He won the 1989 Nippon Professional Baseball Most Valuable Player Award during his career playing baseball in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.

Woodie Fryman

Woodrow Thompson Fryman (April 12, 1940 – February 4, 2011), was an American professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for six teams, across 18 seasons (1966–1983). A two-time National League (NL) All-Star, he helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the 1972 American League Championship Series.

American League teams
National League teams


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