It started with an Ellis Valentine autographed baseball acquired on a dare by a grade school friend. Now, Perry Giannias is one of the most dedicated Montreal Expos collectors around; and he’s turning his passion into a fundraising machine, too.
Giannias, who lives in suburban Montreal, grew up with the first Major League Baseball team to call another country home. Like many fans in Canada, he was upset when the franchise opted to bolt Quebec for Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals.
“If we’re not going to have a team, at least let me live through the memorabilia,” he recalled to David Peterkofsky of the For Keeps podcast.
Since the early 2000s, Giannias’ collection has grown to over 200 game-worn jerseys and jackets, plus game-used bats, game-worn helmets, signed baseballs and just about everything else you can think of.
“Now, every time I go into my basement I relive my youth.”
It also spurred a fundraising event that’s very personal. After losing a niece to a rare form of pediatric brain cancer, he started Expos Fest, a celebration of the team’s history that features former players and a memorabilia auction.
He owns a special piece of Gary Carter memorabilia, too.
Listen to the full interview below.
You can read more on the collection and see more photos here.