Pearson Cup

The Pearson Cup (French: Coupe Pearson) was an annual midseason Major League Baseball rivalry between former Canadian rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. Named after former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, it was originally created to raise money for minor league baseball in Canada. In later years, it was incorporated into the interleague baseball schedule.

The series began in 1978, and ran until 1986.[1] Due to a strike, no game was played in 1981.[2] In 2003 the series was revived as part of the Blue Jays–Expos interleague rivalry.[3] It continued on into the 2004 season, after which the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The cup is now on display in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary's, Ontario.

Pearson Cup
  • Montreal Expos
  • Toronto Blue Jays
First meetingJune 29, 1978
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada
Expos 5, Blue Jays 4
Latest meetingJuly 4, 2004
Estadio Hiram Bithorn, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Expos 6, Blue Jays 4
Meetings total43
Regular season series24–19, Blue Jays
Largest victory14–2, Blue Jays (June 22, 1998)
Longest win streak
  • Expos: 4 games (June 14, 2002 – June 28, 2002)
  • Blue Jays: 6 games (July 2, 1997 – June 4, 1999)
Current win streakdefunct


From 1978 to 1986, the Cup was awarded after a one-game exhibition, that had no effect on the major league standings. The 1979 and 1985 games were abandoned as ties due to time constraints; in 1979 the Expos had to catch an airplane flight,[4] while in 1985 the Jays had to catch a flight.[5][6]

The game was suspended in 1987 as the two teams could not find a mutually agreeable date to play the game.[7] There was discussion about reviving the game in the preseason, or playing it in another Canadian city such as Vancouver, but this never took place.[8][9][10]

During the 2003 and 2004 series, the Cup was awarded after a six-game set, three in Toronto and three in Montreal.[3] These games did count toward the major league standings and were during the regular season

Single exhibition games
 Season  Date   Location   Visiting team  Runs   Home team   Attendance   Ref   Cumulative
1978 June 29 Olympic Stadium Toronto 4–5 (10) Montreal 20,221 [11] Montreal 1–0–0
1979 April 19 Exhibition Stadium Montreal 4–4 (11) Toronto 21,564 [4] Montreal 1–0–1
1980 July 31 Olympic Stadium Toronto 1–3 Montreal 6,731 [12] Montreal 2–0–1
1981 July 6 Exhibition Stadium Cancelled due to players' strike [2][13] Montreal 2–0–1
1982 September 2 Exhibition Stadium Montreal 7–3 Toronto 23,102 [14] Montreal 3–0–1
1983 May 5 Olympic Stadium Toronto 7–5 Montreal 8,291 [15] Montreal 3–1–1
1984 May 24 Exhibition Stadium Montreal 5–6 (13) Toronto 24,768 [16] Montreal 3–2–1
1985 May 9 Olympic Stadium Toronto 2–2 (11) Montreal 11,075 [5] Montreal 3–2–2
1986 April 28 Exhibition Stadium Montreal 2–5 Toronto 16,786 [17] Tied 3–3–2
Regular season series
 Season   Date   Location  Visiting team  Games  Home team  Average
 Ref   Series   Cumulative
2003 June 20–22 Olympic Stadium Toronto 2–1 Montreal 12,782 [18] Tied
Tied 3–3–3
June 27–29 SkyDome Montreal 2–1 Toronto 31,571
2004 June 25–27 SkyDome Montreal 1–2 Toronto 22,091 [19] Tied
Tied 3–3–4
July 2–4 Hiram Bithorn Stadium
(San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Toronto 1–2 Montreal 8,443

The All-Canadian Series

The Blue Jays and Expos first played meaningful baseball in the 1997 season with the introduction of interleague play.[20] In 1997, the teams played three games at Toronto; the two teams played home and home series for the first time in 1998. The series was a decided boost to the paltry attendance numbers at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and gave a modest increase in attendance at SkyDome in Toronto; it failed, however, to become a serious rivalry amongst the players or the fans.[1] Some people attribute this to a lack of Canadian players on both teams, while others point to the general discontent of Canadians with Major League Baseball during the late 1990s and early 2000s.[1][21]

Major League Baseball put the final nail in the Series' coffin by playing the final set between the Jays and Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico instead of Montreal. Major League Baseball's intention to boost attendance by playing in San Juan ended up resulting in lower attendance than the series had attracted in Montreal a year earlier.[22][23][24]

The All-Canadian Series ended after 2004 when the Expos were relocated and became known as the Washington Nationals.[25][26] The Blue Jays won the series 24 games to 19 games, and Toronto also won the most season series (3–2–2).[27]

List of games

Regular season games
 Season   Date   Location  Visiting team  Score  Home team  Attendance  Ref  Series
1997 June 30 Skydome Montreal 2–1 Toronto 37,430 [28] Montreal 2–1
July 1 Montreal 2–1 Toronto 50,436 [29]
July 2 Montreal 6 – 7 (13) Toronto 34,176 [30]
1998 June 22 Skydome Montreal 2–14 Toronto 33,132 [31] Toronto 4–0
June 23 Montreal 2–3 Toronto 33,492 [32]
June 24 Olympic Stadium Toronto 7–6 Montreal 16,515 [33]
June 25 Toronto 1–0 Montreal 9,256 [34]
1999 June 4 Skydome Montreal 2–6 Toronto 24,147 [35] Toronto 4–2
June 5 Montreal 5–0 Toronto 28,112 [36]
June 6 Montreal 2–9 Toronto 24,392 [37]
July 9 Olympic Stadium Toronto 3–4 Montreal 10,091 [38]
July 10 Toronto 7–6 Montreal 15,005 [39]
July 11 Toronto 1–0 Montreal 15,201 [40]
2000 June 9 Skydome Montreal 3–13 Toronto 26,122 [41] Toronto 4–2
June 10 Montreal 11–2 Toronto 30,239 [42]
June 11 Montreal 3–8 Toronto 25,838 [43]
July 7 Olympic Stadium Toronto 5–10 Montreal 13,317 [44]
July 8 Toronto 6–3 Montreal 17,420 [45]
July 9 Toronto 13–3 Montreal 22,489 [46]
2001 June 15 Olympic Stadium Toronto 9–3 Montreal 8,692 [47] Tied 3–3
June 16 Toronto 2–7 Montreal 11,113 [48]
June 17 Toronto 1–4 Montreal 8,440 [49]
July 6 Skydome Montreal 10–7 Toronto 20,074 [50]
July 7 Montreal 8 – 9 (11) Toronto 23,976 [51]
July 8 Montreal 3–9 Toronto 31,012 [52]
2002 June 14 Olympic Stadium Toronto 2–8 Montreal 7,557 [53] Montreal 4–2
June 15 Toronto 3–9 Montreal 12,474 [54]
June 16 Toronto 5–6 Montreal 15,425 [55]
June 28 Skydome Montreal 2–1 Toronto 20,848 [56]
June 29 Montreal 4 – 5 (10) Toronto 24,344 [57]
June 30 Montreal 5–7 Toronto 24,965 [58]
2003 June 20 Olympic Stadium Toronto 8–4 Montreal 11,355 [59] Tied 3–3
June 21 Toronto 5–8 Montreal 11,483 [60]
June 22 Toronto 4–2 Montreal 15,508 [61]
June 27 Skydome Montreal 5–6 Toronto 24,024 [62]
June 28 Montreal 4–2 Toronto 33,334 [63]
June 29 Montreal 10–2 Toronto 37,354 [64]
2004 June 25 Skydome Montreal 1–3 Toronto 16,484 [65] Tied 3–3
June 26 Montreal 5–10 Toronto 23,875 [66]
June 27 Montreal 9–4 Toronto 25,915 [67]
July 2 Estadio Hiram Bithorn Toronto 0–2 Montreal 8,220 [68]
July 3 Toronto 2–0 Montreal 8,831 [69]
July 4 Toronto 4–6 Montreal 8,279 [70]
Totals Toronto: 24 wins, Montreal 19 wins

2005 season

When the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, Major League Baseball identified the Baltimore Orioles as the Nationals′ "natural rival" for interleague play. However, the 2005 schedule already had been set, so during their 2005 season the Nationals played what would have been Montreal's schedule, which included six games against Toronto, three of them in each city. These games would have been the next All-Canadian Series games if the Expos had remained in Montreal for the 2005 season. The Blue Jays and Nationals went 3–3 against one another in the games in 2005. In 2006, Washington began annual interleague play against Baltimore in what became known as the "Beltway Series," while Toronto began play against its new interleague "natural rivals," the Atlanta Braves in odd-numbered years and the Philadelphia Phillies in even-numbered years.

Neutral-site games

The Blue Jays played a number of exhibition games at BC Place in Vancouver including three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers prior to both the 1984 and 1985 seasons[71][72] (the Vancouver Canadians were the AAA farm team of the Brewers at the time[73]), as well as single games against the Detroit Tigers and Brewers in 1993[74][75] and against the Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners in 1994 in a series billed as the "Baseball Classic".[76][77][78][79] The Jays also played the Cleveland Indians in an exhibition game at War Memorial Stadium in nearby Buffalo, New York in 1987.[80] More recently, the club has hosted a pair of exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal prior to the start of the season against the New York Mets (2014),[81] Cincinnati Reds (2015),[82] Boston Red Sox (2016),[83] Pittsburgh Pirates (2017),[84] St. Louis Cardinals (2018)[85][86] and Milwaukee Brewers (2019).[87][88]

The club also has discussed playing more games at BC Place with the president of the Vancouver Canadians.[89][90][91]


  • Canadian Bill Atkinson was the winning pitcher and scored the winning run for the Expos in the first-ever Pearson Cup game at the Olympic Stadium in 1978.
  • Pedro Martínez was the winning pitcher on June 30, 1997, in the first game of 'The All-Canadian Series', pitching 9 innings, striking out 10, walking one.[28]

See also


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External links

1978 Montreal Expos season

The 1978 Montreal Expos season was the tenth season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the National League East with a record of 76-86, 14 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.

Baseball in Canada

Baseball in Canada dates back to the 19th century, and is played at various levels of competition throughout the country. There is currently one major league team, the Toronto Blue Jays, founded in 1977; Canada's first major league team, the Montreal Expos, formed in 1969, relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2005.

Around seventy-five Canadian cities and towns have been home to minor league baseball teams. There is currently one MLB-affiliated minor league team, the Vancouver Canadians of the Class A Northwest League, an affiliate of the Blue Jays.

There are also several independent league teams in Canada, playing in the Can-Am League and the American Association.

Ontario is home to a semi-professional league, known as the Intercounty Baseball League. Quebec has a similar league, the Ligue de Baseball Senior Élite du Québec. There are additionally amateur-level baseball teams playing in each province in the summer months. There are also several American-based collegiate leagues that have teams in Canada.

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (French: Temple de la renommée du baseball canadien) is a museum located in St. Marys, Ontario, Canada. The museum commemorates great players, teams, and accomplishments of baseball in Canada.

Canadian Classique

The Canadian Classique, also known as the 401 Derby and the Two Solitudes Derby is a soccer rivalry between Canadian clubs, Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact. The rivalry gets the "401" nickname from Ontario Highway 401, which forms most of the standard driving route between the two cities (with the remainder being Quebec Autoroute 20), as well as the Two Solitudes book and cultural phenomenon. It is a tense rivalry, stemming from other sporting rivalries between Toronto and Montreal.

Canadiens–Maple Leafs rivalry

The Canadiens–Maple Leafs rivalry is a National Hockey League (NHL) rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Dating back to 1917, it is the oldest rivalry in the NHL. From 1944–78, the two teams met each other in the playoffs 15 times and faced each other in five Stanley Cup Finals. While the on-ice competition is fierce, the Leafs–Habs rivalry is symbolic of the rivalry between Canada's two largest cities: Toronto and Montreal. Both teams have fans across Canada (and beyond); allegiances are no longer as strongly determined by language spoken as in their early histories.

Exhibition game

An exhibition game (also known as a friendly, a scrimmage, a demonstration, a preseason game, a warmup match, or a preparation match, depending at least in part on the sport) is a sporting event whose prize money and impact on the player's or the team's rankings is either zero or otherwise greatly reduced. In team sports, matches of this type are often used to help coaches and managers select and condition players for the competitive matches of a league season or tournament. If the players usually play in different teams in other leagues, exhibition games offer an opportunity for the players to learn to work with each other. The games can be held between separate teams or between parts of the same team.

An exhibition game may also be used to settle a challenge, to provide professional entertainment, to promote the sport, to commemorate an anniversary or a famous player, or to raise money for charities. Several sports leagues hold all-star games to showcase their best players against each other, while other exhibitions games may pit participants from two different leagues or countries to unofficially determine who would be the best in the world. International competitions like the Olympic Games may also hold exhibition games as part of a demonstration sport.

Interleague play

Interleague play in Major League Baseball refers to regular-season baseball games played between an American League (AL) team and a National League (NL) team. Interleague play was first introduced in the 1997 Major League Baseball season. Prior to that, matchups between AL teams and NL teams occurred only during spring training, the All-Star Game, other exhibition games (such as the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, New York), and the World Series. Unlike modern interleague play, none of these contests, except for the World Series, counted toward official team or league records.

Lee Smith (baseball)

Lee Arthur Smith (born December 4, 1957) is an American right-handed baseball pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Lee served mostly as a relief pitcher during his career. One of the dominant closers in baseball history, Smith held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman passed his final total of 478. Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on December 9, 2018 as part of the Today's Game Era Committee vote.

A native of Jamestown in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, Smith was scouted by Buck O'Neil and drafted by the Cubs in the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft. Smith was an intimidating figure on the pitcher's mound at 6 feet, 6 inches (1.98 m) and 265 pounds (120 kg) with a 95-mile per hour (150 km/h) fastball. In 1991, Smith set a National League (NL) record with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was runner-up for the league's Cy Young Award; it was the second of three times he led the NL in saves, and he later led the American League (AL) once while with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. He also set the major league career record for games finished (802), and his 1,022 career games pitched were the third-most in history when he retired; he still holds the team records for career saves for the Cubs (180), and he also held the Cardinals record (160) until 2006.

After the end of his major league career, Smith spent time working as a pitching instructor at the minor-league level with the San Francisco Giants. He then served as the pitching coach for the South Africa national baseball team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and 2009 World Baseball Classic. Smith is a minor-league roving pitching instructor for the Giants.

Lester B. Pearson

Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier, prime minister, and diplomat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th prime minister of Canada from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.

During Pearson's time as Prime Minister, his Liberal minority governments introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the Maple Leaf flag. His Liberal government also unified Canada's armed forces. Pearson convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and he kept Canada out of the Vietnam War. In 1967, his government passed Bill C-168, which de facto abolished capital punishment in Canada by restricting it to a few capital offences for which it was never used, and which themselves were abolished in 1976. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century and is ranked among the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers.

List of baseball teams in Canada

The following is a list of currently active Professional, Independent Professional, Semi-Professional & Summer Collegiate baseball teams in Canada. It includes the league(s) they play for, and championships won.

List of defunct baseball teams in Canada

The following is a list of defunct baseball teams in Canada. It includes the league(s) they played for, and championships won.

Major League Baseball rivalries

Rivalries in the Major League Baseball have occurred between many teams and cities. Rivalries have arisen for many different reasons, the primary ones including geographic proximity, familiarity with opponents, various incidents, and cultural, linguistic, or national pride.

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.

Naismith Cup

The Naismith Cup was an annual pre-season National Basketball Association (NBA) exhibition game. From the 1995 season through 2000, it was played between the two Canadian NBA rivals, the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, at neutral venues across Canada. The cup was named after James Naismith, the Canadian inventor of basketball, and was originally created to raise money for Canada Basketball, similar to the Pearson Cup competition between Canada's Major League Baseball teams the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos (which have since relocated to Washington). Following the Grizzlies relocation to Memphis the cup was laid dead, though the Raptors continued the tradition of hosting neutral site pre-season games in Canadian cities under the NBA Canada Series name. The Raptors won the series against Vancouver 4–1.

Prior to the 2003 season, the cup was revived as an international match between the Raptors and a European team, played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. In 2003 the opponent was the Panathinaikos A.O. of Athens, Greece, while in 2004 the Benetton Treviso of Treviso, Italy visited Toronto. The final competition in 2005 saw the Raptors' only international loss, against Maccabi Tel Aviv of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Thrill of a Lifetime

Thrill of a Lifetime is a television reality series (before that term was coined) created by Sidney M. Cohen (who also directed many of the episodes) and Willie Stein. It was telecast from 1981 to 1988 in Canada on the CTV network. Thrill of a Lifetime gave viewers the chance to live their dreams, with thrills ranging from daredevil adventures to the romantic. The program was hosted by Doug Paulson, with Teri Austin joining as co-host later in its run. One of the program's more notable episodes was in its first season, when it arranged for an aspiring model named Shannon Tweed to pose for Playboy, which led to her becoming 1982's Playmate of the Year and launching an acting career.Thrill of a Lifetime was revived in 2002 with new episodes produced and telecast in Canada and other countries.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Blue Jays compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. The team plays its home games at the Rogers Centre.

The "Blue Jays" name originates from the bird of the same name, and blue is also the traditional colour of two of Toronto's other professional sports teams: the Maple Leafs (ice hockey) and the Argonauts (Canadian football). In addition, the team was originally owned by the Labatt Brewing Company, makers of the popular beer Labatt's Blue. Colloquially nicknamed the "Jays", the team's official colours are royal blue, navy blue, red, and white. An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Toronto in 1977. Originally based at Exhibition Stadium, the team began playing its home games at the SkyDome upon its opening in 1989. Since 2000, the Blue Jays have been owned by Rogers Communications and in 2004, the SkyDome was purchased by that company, which renamed it Rogers Centre. They are the second MLB franchise to be based outside the United States, and currently the only team based outside the U.S. after the first Canadian franchise, the Montreal Expos, became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Blue Jays went through struggles typical of an expansion team, frequently finishing in last place in its division. In 1983, the team had its first winning season and two years later, they became division champions. From 1985 to 1993, they were an AL East powerhouse, winning five division championships in nine seasons, including three consecutive from 1991 to 1993. During that run, the team also became back-to-back World Series champions in 1992 and 1993, led by a core group of award-winning All-Star players, including Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, John Olerud, and Devon White. The Blue Jays became the first (and, to date, only) team outside the US to appear in and win a World Series, and the fastest AL expansion team to do so, winning in its 16th year. After 1993, the Blue Jays failed to qualify for the playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons, until clinching a playoff berth and division championship in 2015. The team clinched a second consecutive playoff berth in 2016, after securing an AL wild card position. In both years, the Jays won the AL Division Series but lost the AL Championship Series.

The Blue Jays are one of two MLB teams under corporate ownership, with the other being the Atlanta Braves (who are owned by Liberty Media).


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