August 11, 1994. The middle date of a trifecta along with October 19, 1981 and September 29, 2004 that are nothing but scars in the hearts of Expos fans everywhere. Perhaps this day twenty years ago was the most wounding off all, because at 34 games over .500 and the best record in baseball, the Expos weren’t eliminated, they were simply denied an opportunity to win a championship that may have saved the franchise due to a strike that managed to do something neither World War could accomplish — cancel the World Series.
No one described what could have been better than best-selling author and lifelong Expos fans Jonah Keri:
July 10, 1994: The Moment I Knewâ€¦that the Expos were going to win the World Series. Final game of a road series in San Diego, I was visiting my girlfriend (future wife) and her parents (future in-laws). The Expos were riding high, and weâ€™d snagged good seats for the game.
It was a bloodbath. Moises Alou blasted two homers. Wil Cordero hit a grand slam. I was beside myself. Cackling. This is what fans of the â€™27 Yankees must have felt like.
As the Expos wrapped up their fifth straight win and headed into the All-Star break with the best record in the league, I had no doubt in my mind that Iâ€™d be attending a victory parade three-and-a-half months later. With the benefit of deeper thought, we know that anything can and does happen in short playoff series. But at the time, I knew without a sliver of a doubt that the Expos were finally, FINALLY going to win the big one.
It has been twenty years since that Expos team took the field, and a full decade since the organization departed for Washington, D.C., but for all the great teams which came up just short due to an injury to a key player or simply cooled at the most inopportune of times, the 1994 Montreal Expos are the only team in the history of Major League Baseball that can legitimately ponder what might have been.
On this twentieth anniversary of the final game played by the ’94 ‘Spos, we raise a pint to the World Series Champions that Never Were.