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Conversations with Clayton: An Interview with Danny Gallagher

Canadian baseball journalist who has written several books on the Montreal Expos

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Marlins v Expos Photo by Charles Laberge/Getty Images

In this week’s edition of “Conversations with Clayton,” I interview Danny Gallagher, one of Canada’s foremost baseball journalists and the author of several books on the history of the Montreal Expos. Over the course of a five decade career in journalism, Gallagher has written about the club for the Montreal Daily News, Ottawa Sun and the Globe and Mail, for whom he also covered the Blue Jays. He is a frequent contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network and has published numerous articles for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)’s website.

Gallagher’s books include Remembering the Montreal Expos (2005), which he co-authored with Bill Young. I consider Remembering the Montreal Expos to be one of the best baseball books ever written. It inspired me to get involved with sports writing and I encourage you all to put it at the top of your summer reading lists. Gallagher is also the author of You Don’t Forget Homers Like That: Memories of Strawberry, Cosby and the Expos (1997) and Agony to Ecstasy: The 1994 Montreal Expos (2013), which he also co-authored with Bill Young.

Clayton Trutor (CT): How did you get involved with sports writing?

Danny Gallagher (DG): When I was in high school in Douglas, Ontario near Ottawa, I excelled in English composition so that got me interested in writing. I played a lot of sports growing up so combining sports and writing was a good fit. I later took a communication arts course at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario and my choice was sports broadcasting but no jobs were available in the spring of 1972 so I took a job as a writer at a weekly newspaper in Ottawa 45 years ago at this time.

CT: Which book of yours is your favorite?

DG: My favourite book would be Ecstasy to Agony: the 1994 Montreal Expos because there were close to 100 interviews covering not only Expos' players and personnel but people from other teams, including Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn, Paul O'Neill, Stan Kasten and John Schuerholz.

CT: What are Montreal’s chances of getting big league baseball back?

DG: I would say the chances of Montreal getting another team are pretty good. There is a fair amount of dialogue between the commissioner's office and Stephen Bronfman and Mitch Garber, the two prospective owners of a new franchise in Montreal. A new team would come in the form of a relocated team such as Tampa Bay or an expansion franchise. What is holding things up is that the commissioner's office wants the lease situations at the Tampa and Oakland ballparks resolved before expansion can be considered.

CT: Did you prefer Olympic Stadium or Jarry Park?

DG: I liked Jarry Park better than Olympic Stadium because it was more intimate and closer to the field and the players.

CT: Exhibition Stadium or SkyDome?

DG: I liked the SkyDome more than Exhibition Stadium because it was a state-of-the-art facility when it was first opened. It also has a roof that can be opened or closed.

CT: Who have been your favorite players to cover on the Expos and Blue Jays?

DG: Dennis Martinez is my favourite all-time Expos player because he was always very cooperative, jovial, genuine, down-to-earth and full of quotes when I needed him for an interview, either in person or on the phone. My favourite Blue Jay would be Joe Carter, always kind and generous with his time.

CT: Who have been your favorite announcers for both clubs?

DG: Dave Van Horne was my favourite Expos' announcer and Tom Cheek was my favourite Toronto announcer.

CT: When you think of “Cincinnati,” you think of __________

DG: When I think of Cincinnati, I think of Pete Rose.

CT: What are your favorite major and minor league ballparks?

DG: My favourite major-league park would be Wrigley Field but I also like Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Riverfront in Cincinnati. My favourite minor-league park would be Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla..

CT: What are you working on right now?

DG: I am working on another Expos book.

Follow Danny Gallagher on Twitter: @dannogallagher7

Head to Amazon to check out his books.

For more of the same, follow me on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor