And he filled in admirably. You could count on his fielding to be impeccable, he helped pitchers to wonderful seasons, he could be counted on for a decent .250 average (and had a career-high of .282 in 1986), was among the National League leaders in stolen bases against, (fewest) errors, double-plays and pretty much all areas of fielding.
He stayed with the Expos until he became a free agent, playing his final season with the California Angels in 1992. He must have signed a dozen cards for me from 1988 to 1991, mostly in ballpoint pen or black sharpie; for some reason, these are the two I'm left with, both signed in blue sharpie. I know why I held onto them, though: they show both of the team's classic uniforms.
First, a rare feat on a brand-name baseball card, sporting the Expos' white (home) uniform, from Leaf's 1987 Donruss set (card #345), showing him between pitches in full catcher regalia:
1988 Topps set - perhaps my favourite baseball set of all time - here is card #674, showing him in the team's powdered-blue (away) uniform, probably warming up for his next at-bat:
Darren Fletcher and Michael Barrett after him; but Fitzgerald will always be my Expos catcher. He'd definitely make my All-Time 40-Man Roster:
C: Gary Carter, Mike Fitzgerald
1B: Andres Gallaraga, Al Oliver
2B: Jose Vidro, Delino DeShields, Ron Hunt
SS: Spike Owen, Wilfredo Cordero, Tom Foley
3B: Tim Wallach, Bob Bailey, Larry Parrish
LF: Tim Raines, Moises Alou, Warren Cromartie
CF: Andre Dawson, Marquis Grissom, Ellis Valentine, Rondell White
RF: Rusty Staub, Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero
Rotation: Pedro Martinez, Steve Rogers, Dennis Martinez, Bill Lee, Pascual Perez
Closers: John Wetteland, Tim Burke
Other Pitchers: Mel Rojas, Ugueth Urbina, Jeff Reardon, Jeff Fassero, Ken Hill, Carlos Perez, Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd, Claude Raymond, Mark Langston, Woodie Fryman