#Shortstops: Birth certificate of a franchise

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Cassidy Lent

The Montreal Expos played their first game as a member of the National League on April 8, 1969 against the New York Mets. They won, 11-10, announcing their arrival in grand fashion.

It was during the Winter Meetings, roughly a year and a half before this game, on Dec. 2, 1967, that Gerry Snyder made a bid for the city of Montreal, in Quebec, Canada, to receive a Major League Baseball franchise. From this bid, a new National League team was born.

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Montreal was among six cities that put forth formal bids that winter to be the home of a new National League team. The other city that was awarded a team was San Diego, Calif. The city would become the home of the San Diego Padres.

Like the birth of most things, whether it be businesses or humans, the new Montreal baseball team was given a certificate to formally identify its status as part of the National League. This certificate of membership was presented to the club by the National League “to certify that Montreal Baseball Partnership Reg’d is a member of The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs and is entitled to all the rights and privileges granted by the Constitution and Rules of the League, including the franchise to operate a Professional Baseball Club in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.”

It was signed by Warren Giles, National League President at the time, on Aug. 15, 1968, who was quoted by the Chicago Tribune earlier that August as saying, “I have great confidence in the future of Montreal as a baseball city.”

This certificate, measuring just 14 x 11 inches, is a dignified if somewhat unassuming document that is housed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s library collection. It is ornate in its writing, but in many respects similar to a typical birth or membership certificate one might find elsewhere.

It is this certificate, however mundane, that recognized the membership of the Montreal Expos into one of the oldest professional sports organizations of all time: The National League.


Cassidy Lent is the manager of reference services at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the SHORT STOPS series