Simply Baseball Notebook: Collector's Corner

Preserving Expos History

"COLLECTOR'S CORNER": August 2004  

A Labor of Love
Preserving Expos History


When the 2004 season is over, the Montreal Expos will likely be no more, but if Alex Weeks has anything to say about it, the team will never be forgotten.

Over the past four years, the lifelong Expos fan has been amassing hundreds of the team's radio and TV broadcasts.

"Collecting Expos broadcasts are part of my effort to save and accumulate a complete history of the franchise," he says.

Born and raised in Montreal, the 42-year-old hobbyist remembers the exact date of his first Expos game.

"I attended my first game at Jarry Park with my dad on April 8, 1970," he recalls. "Bob Gibson pitched against Bill Stoneman."

Since that fateful day, Weeks has attended approximately 180 more games - including 18 of the club's last 19 home openers.

The idea to collect broadcasts came to him one day while surfing the web.

"One morning in May 2000, I woke up early and decided to check out this little site I had heard about called eBay," he recounts. "The first item I came across was a 1973 Expos schedule and I was instantly taken back to being 11 years-old and having that schedule in my back pocket all season long. I had to start collecting Expos history."

The devoted enthusiast has since accumulated close to 700 audio and video broadcasts.  Highlights of his collection include games from the team's inaugural season, the call on Pete Rose's 4000th hit, and some of the more recent Blue Jays/Expos match-ups.

The former Montrealer is still looking to add play-by-play from the Expos inaugural game, the club's first home opener, and a long list of broadcasts from the franchise's first 15 years to his collection.

"Games from 1983 and before are very difficult to come by," he says.

A list of his collection can be found on his website,
http://www3.sympatico.ca/aw.id/expos/archive/GAMES.HTML a shrine originally set up in 2001 to attract fellow collectors and traders.

"Every time I think I can't find anything else, someone pops out of the woodwork and and helps me out . There are boxes in people's basements with sports broadcasts long forgotten until someone clears them out," he says.

To complement his broadcast collection, Weeks has also accumulated a number of other Expos items, including media guides, schedules, programs, ticket stubs, and photos.

"My favorite piece of memorabilia is an original 1975 team picture given to me by former Expos pitcher Don DeMola," he says.

But despite his passion for the Expos, the ardent supporter hasn't met a lot of the team's players.   He does deserve credit, however, for the club's decision to reinstate their original theme song.

"Back in 2002, I corresponded with Claude Delorme, the Expos vice-president. I told him that people were asking about the old Expos theme and that it should be played like it used to be when the Expos took the field," he explains. "He wrote me back a few days later, saying that effective immediately the theme would be reinstated.  Sitting at an Expos game hearing the theme - and knowing I had a part in getting it back - feels great."

The state of his beloved franchise, however, saddens Weeks.  He blames inept ownership for the team's current plight.

"I have no respect for the 'gentlemen' who run Major League Baseball, but the Expos story is really one of poor management.  Montreal is a perfectly good sports town and baseball town. The one thing that bothers me most is the audacity of professional sports franchises blaming this market or that market for their problems," he says. "When the Expos go, then I'm through
with Major League Baseball.  But I'll take my memories and the history of the club to the grave with me."

-Kevin Glew

Note: If you have Expos broadcasts that you would like to trade or sell, you can contact Alex at expos.archive@sympatico.ca

Kevin Glew is a freelance writer based in London, Ontario - he can be reached @  kevin.glew@sympatico.ca