Today we’ll take a look at two rookies from the Expos’ second season of existence. I figured this would be a fun “two paths” exercise, even if it’s not technically Senators Friday.
From what I can tell, Garry Jestadt was seen as the solution at shortstop for the Expos in 1969; news articles from Spring Training indicated that he was seen as such, but I guess he flopped in Spring Training, because he only saw six games in the majors in 1969, all of them as a September callup. He was lousy during that callup, too, but he was only 22. He split 69 between A-level West Palm Beach and AAA Vancouver, hitting a cumulative .312/.369/.414. Pretty damn amazing for a shortstop in that era. As for the majors? Let’s just say he had a -100 OPS, and it was the only time he would spend with the Expos.
Unfortunately, he would spend all of 1970 in the minors, playing in 2 games in the Expos system before being shipped off to the Cubs for Jim Qualls, who would likewise do very little for the Expos. Some “Rookie Star”. For his career, he played in 176 games in the majors, hitting .260/.296/.344. Yikes.
Carl Morton’s career took a very different path. Like Jestadt, Morton appeared to be a candidate to spend all of 1969 with the Expos, but it appears that the doors were pretty much open to every player that Spring, which makes sense. He ended up pitching in 8 games for the Expos in 1969, going 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.602 WHIP. No reason to think the guy would do much, but he would burst wide open in 1970. He went 18-11 with a 3.60 ERA, 154 strikeouts in 182 innings and, oh yeah, led the league with 125 BBs. Wow! His WHIP was still 1.426, not that great, but he ended up winning the NL Rookie of the Year for 1970. Morton said he felt he had won the award with a strong September, finishing up with three wins in the month for the last-place team. He said he also hoped to win the Cy Young in the future, but you can probably guess that wouldn’t happen. Oh, I did find this hilarious picture:
Haha what is even happening in that picture? Why are they dressed for basketball, with an Expos basketball jersey, no less?
Morton stayed with Montreal until 1972, having some off-and-on good years and ending up with a 45-35 record with a 4.09 ERA during his time in Montreal. Think some of that had to do with being on a terrible team? I sure think so. In 1973, he was traded to Atlanta for Pat Jarvis, who went 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 1973 in Montreal, his final season in the majors.
Morton went on to be 52-47 with a 3.47 ERA in Atlanta from 1973 to 1976, his final season in the majors. All in all, though, I’d have to say kids would have liked this card for the Morton rookie, if nothing else, for a year or two there. Of course it’s a welcome addition to my collection, and one of the Million Card Giveaway acquisitions.