McHale, first Expos president, dies at 86

PALM CITY, Fla. -- John McHale, who played on the Detroit
Tigers team that won the 1945 World Series and went on to become a
longtime baseball executive, has died. He was 86.

McHale died Thursday morning in a hospice unit near his home in
Palm City.

A first baseman who played 64 games for the Tigers from 1943-48,
McHale made more of an impact in the front office. He was president
of the Montreal Expos when they debuted as an expansion team in
1969, and was their general manager.

McHale also was the GM for the Tigers and Braves, and worked in
the commissioner's office.

"Both personally and professionally, John McHale was one of the
finest gentlemen I have ever known," commissioner Bud Selig said
in a statement. "He was a longtime mentor of mine, and I had the
pleasure of serving with him on the board of directors of the
National Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball has lost one of its most
respected figures."

McHale's son, John Jr., is an executive vice president in the
commissioner's office.

McHale was hired in 1968 as the Expos' first president and was
their GM from 1978-84. Montreal made its only playoff appearance in

McHale was succeeded by Claude Brochu as president of the Expos
in 1986.

Born in Detroit, McHale made his big league debut in 1943. He
had just one at-bat the next season and got his first two career
hits in 1945. He went 0-for-3 in the Tigers' seven-game win over
the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Overall, he hit .193 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 114
at-bats, all with Detroit.

McHale had one at-bat in 1948, the year he began his front
office career as the Tigers' assistant farm director. He later was
their director of minor league operations and GM.