World Series, Play-O-Graph, Duplessis and us

Although our motto is “I remember”, we have short memories. An example: Did you know that for half a century, baseball has been the most popular sport in Quebec?

Released on October 28

Our ancestors loved baseball. Very very strong. On weekends, thousands occupied the parks to promote the Montreal Mascots, the Athlétiques de Québec, or the Drummondville Cubs. The best actors in the state were adored like movie stars. No wonder that in the novel plouffesCamping in 1938, Guillaume wanted to be a baseball player, not a hockey player.

Being great at baseball was the passport to victory. And the best scene to shine was the World Series. It was the event of the year. Not just in sports. throughout North American society.

Sports fans here wanted to know everything about the games. Not the next day, in the newspaper. . Immediately. Now. But that was before the internet. Before TV. Before radio, even for first editions. How to satisfy their enthusiasm?

in 1915 Press – “always willing to inform the public” – subscribes to a special telegram service. “It will allow us to send a direct telegram from Philadelphia and Boston to our office. Point for each shot as quickly as possible. Baseball enthusiasts will want to get ahead Press to have the first news of these episodes that fascinated the whole continent,” he explains the direction of the newspaper.

Initiative is all the rage.

On the day of the first game, “several thousand” Montrealers gathered at the corner of Saint-Laurent boulevard and Saint-Jacques street to follow the progress of the game in real time. Dozens of people do the same at Eaton’s Shoe Market, rue Sainte-Catherine, or at Château Frontenac in Quebec, two establishments that also have telegraph services.

In 1924, the owners of Aréna Mont-Royal, the home of Canadians, scored a point. They import a revolutionary technology that dazzles the audience at Madison Square Garden.


What is this ?


A Memorial-National ad showing the Play-O-Graph

It’s a giant board about five meters high, where all of the game’s moves are “faithfully reproduced only two minutes after being executed on the ground.” On the day of the first game of the World Series, about 1000 Montrealers head to Mont-Royal Avenue to see this wonder. The object fascinates and seduces. Soon after, the Orpheum Theater got one. Monument-National too. In the early 1930s, the owners of the Montreal Royals installed one in the showroom at Delorimier Stadium. “The players are arranged on the diamond, and you can see them stop the balls in all directions,” excites the organizers.

All very exciting. But the summit still travels to the United States to attend the finals in person. The World Series is the event of the year. Businessmen, politicians, supporters, movie, music and sports stars snatch rare tickets. Those lucky enough to find it trumpet and appear in the local papers. This was the case in 1913 when two Canadiens players Newsy Lalonde and Didier Pitre traveled by car to New York with their former teammates Joseph Cattarinich and the club’s future head coach Léo Dandurand.


Homeland He posted a photo of five Montrealers watching the World Series in 1913. Among them are hockey players Harry Hyland and Newsy Lalonde, and future head coach of Canadian Léo Dandurand. Didier Pitre and Joseph Cattarinich are also on the tour.

In subsequent years, Dandurand would become a World Series regular. Perhaps he crossed paths with another devotee of the autumn classic: Maurice Duplessis.

Quebec’s former prime minister was one of the biggest baseball fans in the province at the time. He was the one who gave the funds to build the municipal stadiums of Quebec and Trois-Rivières – the same stadiums that the Capitals and Eagles developed today.

in 1956 tabloid “Mr. Duplessis rarely misses a World Series. He takes that time to take a vacation. That means if the Braves win the National League title, the premiere will be in New York and Milwaukee. Mr. Duplessis will be accompanied by a few close friends.” He has Paul Sauvé as his successor as president.

It was precisely in the 1950s that the World Series reached the highest popularity in our country. Why? Why ? Because most of the Brooklyn Dodgers players, several time finalists, have gone through the organization’s school club in Montreal. The 1955 final between the Dodgers and the Yankees is particularly watchable. Parties made headlines Press. Not in the sports section. Up to three action shots on the front page of the newspaper. “The World Series is the biggest sporting event in America,” the newspaper competes.

A few years later, the Expos moved to the city. Unfortunately, they will never reach the World Series in 35 seasons.

He was in Quebec. Now imagine the World Series frenzy in the United States.

This is what journalist Tyler Kepner offers in his new article: The Biggest Stage. For those who don’t know, Kepner is the National Baseball Correspondent. New York Times. He is an outstanding storyteller. My favorite American sports journalist. previous book, K: History of Baseball on FieldIt was the best ball book I’ve read since then money ball. The Biggest Stage is equally good. Maybe even better.

Tyler Kepner does not tell the story of the World Series in a linear way. He zigzags from one edition to the next, from one decade to the next, immersing himself in anecdotes collected from hundreds of players and coaches. Among the interviewees are legends as many as Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Madison Bumgarner, obscure saviors who find themselves in the spotlight in a critical game. Through a series of delicious references, Kepner recounts his own experience as a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1983 finale. Awesome story.

Like many baseball fans, Tyler Kepner is a big romantic. But a real romantic. He also sees the World Series fall. The sixth episode of the 1980 finale was watched by 55 million viewers. Is it 2021? by 14 million people. Major league baseball, once a symbol of modernity, has not adapted to new forms of communication as much as the NFL.

Special bulletins in front Press disappeared. Play-O-Graph too. And the stars no longer walk around stadiums in their best fur. Fortunately, the stories of good baseball and Tyler Kepner remained on TV.

The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series

The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series

double day

336 pages

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