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

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.


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 counted in major-league standings and were played 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

Season Season series at Toronto Blue Jays
at Montreal Expos
1997 Expos 2–1 2–1; 2–1; 6–7(13) no games First regular season games played between the two clubs
1998 Blue Jays 4–0 2–14; 2–3 7–6; 1–0 First regular season games played between the two clubs at Olympic Stadium
First season series sweep by either team
1999 Blue Jays 4–2 2–6; 5–0; 2–9 3–4; 7–6; 1–0 First year of 6-game home and away format
2000 Blue Jays 4–2 3–13; 11–2; 3–8 5–10; 5–3; 13–3
2001 Tie 3–3 10–7; 8–9(11); 3–9 9–3; 2–7; 1–4
2002 Expos 4–2 2–1; 4–5(11); 5–7 2–8; 3–9; 5–6
2003 Tie 3–3 5–6; 4–2; 10–2 8–4; 5–8; 4–2
2004 Tie 3–3 1–3; 5–10; 9–4 0–2; 2–0; 4–6 Expos played their home games during this series in Puerto Rico.
Overall Blue Jays 24–19 at Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays, 14-9
at Montreal Expos
Tied, 10-10

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[28][29] (the Vancouver Canadians were the AAA farm team of the Brewers at the time[30]), as well as single games against the Detroit Tigers and Brewers in 1993[31][32] and against the Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners in 1994 in a series billed as the "Baseball Classic".[33][34][35][36] The Jays also played the Cleveland Indians in an exhibition game at War Memorial Stadium in nearby Buffalo, New York in 1987.[37] 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),[38] Cincinnati Reds (2015),[39] Boston Red Sox (2016),[40] Pittsburgh Pirates (2017),[41] St. Louis Cardinals (2018),[42][43] Milwaukee Brewers (2019).[44][45] A series against the New York Yankees was scheduled for 2020,[46] but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[47]

The club also has discussed playing more games at BC Place with the president of the Vancouver Canadians.[48][49][50][51]


See also


  1. ^ a b c O'Connor, Joe (June 28, 2002). "A series without rivals". National Post. p. S1.
  2. ^ a b Gamester, George (1981-07-08). "Now even inflation costs a quarter". Toronto Star.
  3. ^ a b "Pearson Cup again up for grabs". CBC News. 2003-06-16. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  4. ^ a b "Jays, Expos give exciting display". Leader-Post. 1979-04-20. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  5. ^ a b King, Philip. "Watching Jays, Expos draw enough to put you to sleep". The Globe and Mail.
  6. ^ Zawadzki, Edward (2001). The Ultimate Canadian Sports Trivia Book, Volume 1. Canada: Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 216. ISBN 9780888822376.
  7. ^ "Royals' hopes high for Tartabull". Calgary Herald. 1987-01-07.
  8. ^ "Exhibition game ends with Jays, Expos tied". Windsor Star.
  9. ^ Elliot, Bob. "Pearson Cup played in near-empty Big O". Ottawa Citizen.
  10. ^ MacCarl, Neil (1986-04-27). "Big O roof, Toronto dome might save Pearson Cup". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
  11. ^ Patton, Paul (1978-06-30). "Expos 5–4 win over Jays". The Globe and Mail.
  12. ^ "Farm hands spark Expos". The StarPhoenix. 1980-08-01. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
  13. ^ MacCarl, Neil (1981-06-23). "Iorg stalled in pay talks by lost time". Toronto Star.
  14. ^ "Expos win Pearson Cup". Leader-Post. 1982-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  15. ^ York, Marty (1983-05-06). "Jays' McLaughlin not impressed after gaining victory over Expos". The Globe and Mail.
  16. ^ Millson, Larry. "Game was strange, but true as Jays prevail over Expos". The Globe and Mail.
  17. ^ "Little excitement as Jays down Expos". Toronto Star. 1986-04-29. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  18. ^ "2004 Toronto Blue Jays schedule". Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  19. ^ "2004 Toronto Blue Jays schedule". Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  20. ^ Shoalts, David (July 1, 1997). "Rivalry could be over before it gets started". The Globe and Mail. p. D10.
  21. ^ Maloney, Tom (June 16, 2001). "Fans balk at rivalry that died years ago". National Post. p. A19.
  22. ^ Baker, Geoff (July 5, 2004). "Jays' pen gives Lilly no relief". Toronto Star. p. C4.
  23. ^ Griffin, Richard (July 4, 2004). "Minaya manages to care". Toronto Star. p. E4.
  24. ^ Baker, Geoff (July 4, 2004). "Doc cures what ails Jays; Halladay handcuffs Expos to tie series Interleague game draws just 8,831 fans". Toronto Star. p. E4.
  25. ^ Montgomery, Lori; Heath, Thomas (September 30, 2004). "Baseball's Coming Back to Washington". Washington Post. p. A1.
  26. ^ Henson, Steve; Schwartz, Emma (September 30, 2004). "Expos Bid Adieu to Montreal". Los Angeles Times. p. D4.
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  28. ^ "Jays draw 106,328 to B.C. Place". The Windsor Star. 1984-04-02. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  29. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays Post Best Spring Record Yet". Harlan Daily Enterprise. 1985-04-08. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  30. ^ "Brewers give former Canadians their big chance". The Vancouver Sun. 1985-04-04. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  31. ^ "Cito unfaxed by the loss of ace Stewart". Toronto Star. 1993-04-05.
  32. ^ "BASEBALL; Jays Lose Stewart to Injury". New York Times. 1993-04-05. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  33. ^ "Jays Report – The Night in Vancouver". Toronto Star. 1994-04-02.
  34. ^ "Vancouver tries for small piece of baseball pie Major-league franchise out of reach despite attendance at weekend event". The Globe and Mail. 1994-04-04.
  35. ^ Little, Lyndon (1994-04-04). "Gaston uneasy over injuries as Jays eye three-peat". Vancouver Sun.
  36. ^ "Braves rally late to win in 10 innings". Tuscaloosa News. 1994-04-03.
  37. ^ "It's Blue Jays day in Buffalo: Thoughts on two big questions about the new parent club". Buffalo News. 2012-09-21. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  38. ^ Beacon, Bill (2014-03-29). "Melky Cabrera homer lifts Toronto Blue Jays over New York Mets 2–0". Metro International. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  39. ^ "Donaldson homers, Blue Jays crush Reds". The Sports Network. 2015-04-04. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  40. ^ "Blue Jays swept in Montreal series by Red Sox". CBC News. 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
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  42. ^ Beacon, Bill (2018-03-27). "Blue Jays' Russell Martin still has hope for baseball in hometown of Montreal". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
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  52. ^ "Boxscore and Play by Play". Retrieved 2013-09-28.