With all the Expos talk around the baseball world lately, I thought it would be a good time to share some cards I picked up a few months ago as part of a trade with a Canadian collector:
Provigo was (and still is) a Canadian grocery retailer. As you can see by the French-language website—with English as a secondary option—they're based in the province of Québec.
The card design is nice and simple. I like the contrasting bright yellow stripe on the bottom that includes the player name and number. (And who are we kidding, the Expos logo and uniform would look good on just about any design.)
As far as I could find, 1986 was the only year that Provigo teamed up with the Expos and MLB to make a team set. There are 28 cards in all, not including the coupons and advertisements you'll see coming up. Provigo also put out a set of 25 stickers for the Montreal Canadiens and Québec Nordiques during the 1985-86 hockey season.
Here's an example of the card back:
Just like O-Pee-Chee cards, the bio and blurb on the Provigo cards are printed in French and English.
I wasn't aware that Hubie Brooks called Irvington, NY his home. That's not too far from where I live now, and must have been where he lived when he played for the New York Mets (1980 through 1984).
Irvington is a quiet little town that runs right along the Hudson River, named after New York writer Washington Irving. Seems like it would have been a bit of a drive to get to Shea Stadium in Queens, but if Mr. Brooks enjoyed the quiet, peaceful life, he made a good choice.
Let's get to the other cards I picked up in the trade:
Here's an offer for a card-collector's album—only $1.99 CAD plus tax!
Note the perforation marks along the right side, suggesting that these special-offer cards may have been an insert in some sort of flyer or coupon book.
Next up, it's Youppi! the mascot, helping to advertise the Ultramar and Gulf companies. More specifically, it says that Youppi! himself will be featured all summer at Ultramar and Gulf locations. That's a lot of Youppis!
Speaking of a lot of Youppis, is that a red Youppi! and a yellow Youppi! at the bottom left of this Hostess coupon??
No. After conducting some research, all three of those guys are mascots for Hostess potato chips. They're called "The Munchies".
Youppi! himself did get a card, though. He's pictured in his familiar spot on top of the dugout. This time he's playing the saxophone. Looks like a natural.
And here's Youppi's bio and blurb. I think it's a great write-up.
If you're wondering what he's up to these days, Youppi! is the official mascot of the Montreal Canadiens. He made the transition from baseball to hockey back in 2005.
When you think about the Expos, it's hard not to smile. Back in the 1980s and 1990s they had some talented teams and were fun to watch. (Think Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Steve Rogers, Jeff Reardon, Andres Galarraga, Tim Wallach, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero, Marquis Grissom, Pedro Martinez.)
These cards provide a great reminder of that, and I'm happy I have a few of them in my collection now.
It sure would be fun to see Major League baseball in Montreal again. I wonder if Youppi! is out there having a catch somewhere right now and getting his baseball routine warmed up, just in case.