The late Norm King fulfilled his last dream with the publication of a book

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The late Norm King’s last dream came true when his book about the 1979 Expos was published posthumously in October 2021.

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It was the dream of a baseball fan, Norm King, to write a book about his favorite team, the Montreal Expos. When a publisher offered the Ottawa writer a book deal, he was beyond ecstatic. He spent the last two years of his life writing the book, continuing despite being diagnosed with cancer in the middle of his job.

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Sadly, King lost a nine-month battle with cancer at the age of 61 in 2018, with his dream book unfinished. Despite the best efforts of a few friends, the book languished until author and Expos historian Danny Gallagher agreed to complete the book with the blessing of King’s widow.

Gallagher, a personal friend, told me about the situation. I’m also a huge Expos fan and have been writing for the StarPhoenix since 2009, including several Expos-related stories. Although I never met King, I was immediately drawn to the project and offered to help. I edited the book, selected photos, wrote the prologue and made King proud.

Norm King's book, 1979: The Expos' First Great Season was published posthumously in October 2021. Available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.
Norm King’s book, 1979: The Expos’ First Great Season was published posthumously in October 2021. Available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

At the beginning of October 2021, Norm’s dream came true with the publication of, 1979: The Expos’ first major season. King’s book focuses on the first great Expos team that won more games than any other Expos team in its 36-year history. Exposmania spread nationally in 1979 as the Expos led the standings for 94 days (out of 160) and fought for a playoff berth until the final day.

Many young Expos players came into their own in 1979, such as future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter and outfielder Andre Dawson. Their core also included ace pitcher Steve Rogers, team MVP third baseman Larry Parrish and rifle-wielding outfielder Ellis Valentine, all at the peak of their careers. Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, a two-time World Series champion, managed the team.

Previous Expos teams have all lost more games than they have won. That team was 95-65, including 39 wins from behind to leave the Expos in a duel with the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place. As the pennant race intensified in late August, the Expos set a franchise record 10 straight wins and won 17 of 18 games.

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King’s book takes readers through the history of the early Expos, then a detailed look at the 1979 season, right before the start of spring training through to the final game. The hopes of Canadian baseball fans have never been higher. The remarkable 1979 season will be remembered by Expos fans.

1979: The Expos’ first major season by Norm King is available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

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1979: First big Expos season by Norm King.  Publication: October 2021. Available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.
1979: First big Expos season by Norm King. Publication: October 2021. Available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.
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