Jose Vidro knows very well that he will never have to ask himself the question, but if he had had to choose a hat to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he would have chosen, without hesitation, for the Expos.
A former Montreal squad from 1997 to 2004, Vidro will be in Quebec later this week as part of a former Expos softball tour. With great pleasure, he will visit in turn, from Thursday to Sunday, Sherbrooke, Granby, Quebec and Lachine for the Kat D DIPG Foundation, which raises funds for research on brain cancer in children. Other alumni, including famed reliever Mel Rojas, will join the tour.
“When I was approached, I accepted immediately,” Vidro said when reached by phone from his home in Florida. It's always a pleasure to reunite with old Expos fans.”
“In my opinion, he's the best second baseman in team history and he hit for a career average of around .300 is not nothing, noted Perry Giannias, head of the Expos Fest Events tour. We are proud to have him among us.”
“A special place in my heart”
Now 47, the Puerto Rican-born baseball player was indeed a big star in Montreal, alongside Vladimir Guerrero, during the club's last years in Quebec. From 1999 to 2003, he had five consecutive seasons with a batting average over .300, being invited to represent the Expos three times in the All-Star Game.
“I loved playing in Montreal so much and this city will always have a special place in my heart,” Vidro said. My family was good there and I was sad to leave.”
Before moving to Washington, where he played for two seasons with the Nationals, Vidro admits he had special feelings when the Expos had been called up to play in Puerto Rico, where he is from.
“For my teammates, it was mostly a lot of travel, but I liked it because I could play in front of my family and my friends,” Vidro confessed.
In 2003, during Vidro's and the Expos' first stint at the Estadio Hiram Bithorn, he had quite a bit of success with, among other things, seven doubles and three home runs in 21 games.
“ I was successful there, I knew the stadium well having played there for years during the winter,” admitted the former second baseman.
– Jose Vidro, who concluded his 1,418-game major league baseball career with the Seattle Mariners in 2008, has already returned more than once to Montreal, also at the invitation of Expos Fest. The last occasion was in 2018, as part of a Toronto Blue Jays preseason game at Olympic Stadium. This time, he will take the opportunity to visit part of Quebec. Tour details: exposfest.com.
Memories of Guerrero and Tatis…
Former Expos player Jose Vidro reminisces very particular from his last years spent in Montreal: there was hidden talent in the team's locker room and not just among the players.
“At one point, there was Vladimir Guerrero and Fernando Tatis in Montreal at the same time as me and I remember that my son [Jose Vidro Junior] was playing with their children, he said, referring to the current stars Major League Baseball Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres. It was good for the youngsters, there was food for them.”
Vidro thinks he remembers the love that “Vlad Junior” had for the ice cream machine in the locker room.
“My son also played baseball, he was a good hitter and played first base,” Vidro said. He didn't reach major league baseball, but I'm still very proud of him.”
During the next softball tour in Quebec, from Thursday to Sunday, Vidro will also have the opportunity to reconnect with Claude Raymond, who was part of the Expos coaching staff.
“He's such a respectful person,” he described, of “Frenchy”.