The Montreal Royals played in the IL fore-runner Eastern League from 1897 to 1902, then were bought by Ned Hanlon and moved to Baltimore. The Worcester franchise was moved to Montreal in mid-1903 and played in the EL until 1911 (known as the Montreal Canucks in 1906 only) and the International League from 1912 to 1917. The Royals returned to the IL from 1928 to 1960. They played their home games at Montreal Stadium (better known as Delorimier Downs). The Royals won the pennant in 1935, and in 1939, they were bought by the Brooklyn Dodgers, who made them their top minor league club. Between 1941 and 1958, the Royals made the playoffs 16 times and won 7 league titles. In 1946, Jackie Robinson spent a season with the Royals on his way to breaking the major league color barrier. Don Drysdale, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider are among the other Dodger greats to wear a Royals uniform. Tom Lasorda also pitched for the Royals for much of the 1950's. When the Dodgers dropped from three AAA clubs to two, they decided to drop out of the International League and on September 7, 1960, the Montreal Royals played their last game.
The Montreal Royals were a minor league professional baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec, that existed from 1897–1917 and from 1928–60 as a member of the International League and its progenitor, the original Eastern League. The Royals are most famous as the top farm club (Class AAA beginning in 1946) of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1939 to 1960.
The team's nickname was derived from the city name, which means "Mount Royal". Thus the full team name, like that of the Los Angeles Angels, the Phoenix Firebirds, and the Philadelphia Phillies, had a built-in redundancy.
In 1928, George Stallings, a former Major League Baseball executive and Southern United States plantation owner, formed a partnership with Montreal lawyer and politician, Athanase David, and Montreal businessman, Ernest Savard, to resurrect the Montreal Royals. Among the team's other local affluent notables were close friends Lucien Beauregard, Romeo Gauvreau, Hector H. Racine, and Charles E. Trudeau. Charles Trudeau, businessman and father of former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, would remain on the Montreal Baseball Club Inc. Board of Directors until his death in 1935. Together these men financed and built Delorimier Stadium (also known as Montreal Stadium, Hector Racine Stadium and Delorimier Downs) at Delorimier Avenue and Ontario Street in east-end Montreal to serve as the team's home field. This version of the Montreal Royals enjoyed great success and launched the baseball careers of Sparky Anderson, Gene Mauch, Roberto Clemente and the man who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier with the Royals in 1946, Jackie Robinson. Other Royals' players of note include Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Chuck Connors, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella and the winningest pitcher in the history of the team, Tommy Lasorda.
The team holds a unique place in baseball history for being the first major-league affiliate to break the so-called "baseball color barrier". On October 23, 1945, two members of the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club Inc. Board of Directors, Montreal Royals owner and team president, Hector Racine, and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager, Branch Rickey, signed Jackie Robinson, an African-American. Robinson played with the Royals during the 1946 season. John Wright and Roy Partlow, black pitchers, also played with the Royals that year.
During that season, Robinson faced the racist resistance of his manager, Mississippian Clay Hopper, and teammates to his entrance, but soon won them over with his masterful playing (beginning with spectacular play in the opening game against the Jersey City Giants) and courage facing against hostile crowds and opponents. As for his home city, he was welcomed immediately by the public, who followed his performance in that season with intense adoration. For the rest of his life, Robinson remained grateful to the people of Montreal for making the city a welcome oasis for his wife and himself during the difficult 1946 season. He and his wife lived in an apartment in a white neighborhood of Montreal that summer.
Robinson then left to play for the Dodgers the following year, but not before winning the Little World series and being chased by exultant Montreal fans right to the train as he left. In Ken Burns' documentary film Baseball, the narrator quotes Sam Maltin, a stringer for the Pittsburgh Courier: "It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind."
The Royals continued through the 1960 season. On September 13, 1960 Dodgers President Walter O'Malley announced that due to weak attendance, the Dodgers were ending their affiliation with the team. While a new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins was arranged, efforts to keep the team in Montreal failed, and the franchise was relocated to Syracuse, New York for 1961, where it has played as the Syracuse Chiefs since.
The Royals won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the IL, 7 times, and played in the championship series 11 times. For more details on their playoff history, please see Montreal Royals Accomplishments
- 1935 – Lost to Syracuse
- 1941 – Defeated Newark
- 1945 – Lost to Newark
- 1946 – Defeated Syracuse
- 1948 – Defeated Syracuse
- 1949 – Defeated Buffalo
- 1951 – Defeated Syracuse
- 1952 – Lost to Rochester
- 1953 – Defeated Rochester
- 1954 – Lost to Syracuse
- 1958 – Defeated Toronto
Montreal Royals records
Montreal Royals managers
|1911||Edward J. McCafferty|
|1937–1938||Walter “Rabbit” Maranville|
Notable former players
- Goody Rosen – Major League Baseball All-Star outfielder
- Jackie Robinson – Major League Hall of Famer
- Roberto Clemente – Major League Hall of Famer
- Brown, William (foreword by Ken Singleton) Baseball's Fabulous Montreal Royals (1996) Robert Davies Publishing ISBN 1-895854-64-4
- ^ "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation : Charles Trudeau ownership". CBC News.
- ^ Baseball Reference: Delorimier Downs
- ^ 
- ^ General Baseball History: Baseball's Negro Leagues
- ^ Society for American Baseball Research: Quebec
- ^ Hill, Benjamin (2007-02-14). "Forgotten members of the 'great experiment': Roy Partlow, John Wright lost in Dodgers' 1946 Minor League integration". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- ^ "US to honor Robinson's Montreal home". FOXSports.com. Associated Press. February 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-27. "... the apartment the couple called home in the summer of 1946."
- 1946 International League season, Al Campanis, Delorimier Downs, Goody Rosen, Jackie Robinson, Montreal Royals, Roberto Clemente, Tommy Holmes