Former Expos third-baseman Bob Bailey dies at age 75
Bob Bailey, one of the Expos’ first star players, died Tuesday in Las Vegas at age 75.
“I’m stunned,” Jeff Severson, who had been friends with Bailey since they played softball together as kids in Long Beach, Calif., told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
“All I remember about those days was running over the fence to retrieve the ball that Bob hit,” Severson added. “He was the Babe Ruth of Long Beach.”
Longtime Expos fans will remember Bailey from his days playing third base at Jarry Park while wearing No. 3.
Bailey wasn’t one of the original 30 Expos selected in the expansion draft on Oct. 14, 1968, but joined the team a week later after being purchased from the Los Angeles Dodgers for an estimated $50,000. It turned out to be money well spent as Bailey drove home the first two runs in Expos history with a two-out double in the first inning of an 11-10 win over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on April 8, 1969.
Bailey would also become the first Expos player to hit two home runs in the same game during that inaugural season, doing it twice in three days on June 22 against the Chicago Cubs and on June 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals. The next day against the Cardinals, Bailey started the first triple play in Expos history while playing first base. With Cardinals at first and second, Bailey speared a line drive off the bat of Vada Pinson, stepped on the bag and threw to shortstop Bobby Wine at second to complete the triple play.
Bailey’s best season with the Expos came in 1970 when he hit .287 with 28 home runs and 84 runs batted in. In 1973, he hit .273 with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs.
After hitting .273 with five homers and 30 RBIs during the 1975 season, the Expos traded Bailey to the Cincinnati Reds on Dec. 12, 1975 in exchange for pitcher Clay Kirby. Bailey would win the World Series with the Reds in 1976.
While playing for the Expos, Bailey lived in Pointe-Claire during the season with his wife, Karen, and their three children. Bailey is survived by Karen; son Robert Jr.; daughters Stephanie and Caroline; 18 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.