In The Cards: 1989 Calgary Cannons

By IAN WILSON

This should have been a set that included a Ken Griffey Jr. baseball card.

Alas, the Hall of Fame centre fielder ended up being too good for Triple-A baseball, skipping straight from the Double-A level in 1988 to the Seattle Mariners in 1989. Nonetheless, this blue-bordered ProCards set of the Calgary Cannons included plenty of Major League Baseball (MLB) talent.

Before we get to that, a few quick notes about this installment of In The Cards. These cards were a bit on the light side – thicker card stock would have benefited the feel of this set. That said, it’s nice to see that the pictures were shot in Calgary, with an overcast Foothills Stadium serving as the obvious backdrop here for most photos. As well, the photographer mixed things up and didn’t just settle for static poses of each player.

The back of the cards, meanwhile, include a good amount of information. Middle names and a lengthy look at career stats are a staple for each player.

As for this Cannons team, the Pacific Coast League club went 70-72 in 1989 while recording official attendance figures totaling 316,616 on the season.

Alright, let’s have a closer look at the cards:

20200328_152036
Tokyo-born Jim Bowie (middle row on the left) played 1,263 games in the minors, culminating in a six-game MLB stint in 1994 with the Oakland Athletics. In addition to playing 163 games for the Cannons between 1989 and 1992, Bowie played a full season for the Edmonton Trappers in 1995.
20200328_152320
Pitching coach Dan Warthen (middle, top row) played for the Expos, Phillies and Astros in the 1970s. His coaching career included stints with the Mariners, Padres, Tigers, Dodgers, Mets and Rangers.
20200328_152503
Gold Glover Omar Vizquel (bottom left) didn’t have a lot of luck with minor-league baseball cards. One Cannons set has his last name spelled wrong and, while his smile looks great here, his eyes are closed in this photo. The Venezuelan, one of the best defensive shortstops in MLB history, played parts of four seasons in Calgary.
20200328_153331
Jim Wilson (middle right) was the big bat in the Cannons lineup. He batted .314 with 26 long balls, 30 doubles, and 133 RBI over 138 games for Calgary in 1989. Wilson had two cups of coffee in the big leagues – a four-game appearance with Cleveland in 1985 and a five-game callup to the Mariners during the 1989 season, his most productive year in professional baseball. He closed out his career with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 1994.
20200328_153735
If not for the trade of Ken Phelps from the Mariners to the Yankees for Jay Buhner (lower middle) – a move that enraged Frank Costanza – the rocket-armed outfielder likely never would have played in Calgary.  Fortunately for Cannons fans, Buhner did make his way to Cowtown. He played 69 games in 1989 and 1990, smacking 13 homers in that time. After that, “The Bone” became one of the most beloved Seattle Mariners in franchise history.
20200328_153955
Mike Kingery (bottom right) played 10 MLB seasons for the Rockies, Mariners, Giants, Pirates, Royals and Athletics. Bryan Price (top left) transitioned from a player to a pitching coach in 1989. He never played in the majors but he went on to have a successful career as a coach with the Mariners and Diamondbacks before joining the Cincinnati Reds, a team he ended up managing. More recently, Price joined the Philadelphia Phillies as a pitching coach.

We encourage you to leave a comment about the players and cards below.

We are seeking to create an online digital archive of Alberta baseball card sets with our In The Cards series. If you have baseball cards you’d like to donate – or lend – to the cause, please email us at AlbertaDugoutStories@gmail.com with more information and to make arrangements.

print

Leave a Reply