In the summer of 1994, the city of Montreal was abuzz. The Expos were playing the best baseball in the majors, attendance was the highest it had been since 1983, and they were on pace to reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Then on August 11th, it all came to a screeching halt. The MLBPA had gone on strike ending a very promising season.
The '94 Expos were not only the best team in baseball but they were also the youngest team in baseball. In fact the oldest player on the team was backup first baseman Randy Milligan at age 32. Larry Walker was in the prime of his career and no one could hit better than Moises Alou. They could hit well. They could pitch even better. Ken Hill led the National League with 16 wins and had an ERA of 3.32. A young Pedro Martinez, while still green, posted a respectable 11-5, 3.42 ERA. The Expos had built a six game lead over the vaunted Atlanta Braves.
Then the strike came and ended everything. It would have been one thing if they went to the playoffs and lost, but they never even got a chance. The '94 season came and went, and in '95 the Expos were a completely different team. Ken Hill was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for three journeymen and never had the same numbers again. Larry Walker signed with the Colorado Rockies and helped lead them to their first ever playoffs. Marquis Grissom was traded to the rival Atlanta Braves. John Wetteland signed with the New York Yankees and led them to a World Series victory in 1996. The Expos still had Pedro Martinez but not much around him as the Expos finished 66-78 a distant 24 games behind the Braves.
That's the thing about small market teams, sometimes you only have one season to win. 1994 was the Expos season, but Bud Selig and Donald Fehr killed it. Killed their glory and possibly World Series title. The abrupt end to the '94 season for the Expos and the subsequent loss of players in '95 led to dwindling attendance, and in just ten short years the Expos moved to Washington, DC and are now just a distant memory. Bud Selig killed this franchise and the hearts of many Montrealaise. Many Expos fans still exist, I'm sure, and look back and wonder what could have been instead of what was.
Vive les Expos!