In The Cards: 1985 Edmonton Trappers

By IAN WILSON

We venture to the provincial capital for this edition of In The Cards.

This look at the 25-card set of the 1985 Edmonton Trappers – crafted by Cramer Sports Promotions in Edmonds, Washington – comes courtesy of the operator of the Twitter account @EDM_BASEBALLFAN. A tip of the cap to that Edmonton baseball enthusiast for sharing pictures of his cards with us and making this gallery a true team effort!

This particular set is a beauty – yes, it includes some rather stale posed pictures, but it also features game-action photos, which was a rarity for most minor league cards of the time. The back of the cards, meanwhile, are full of information and include some really neat cartoons and factoids from around the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The overall look and feel of the set gives it a big league feel, reminiscent of something Topps might have created.

On the field, the Trappers were the defending champs, having won their first PCL title in 1984. A repeat performance was not in the cards, however, as the affiliate of the California Angels finished outside of the playoff picture with a 66-76 record in 1985. The team also welcomed 229,112 baseball fans to John Ducey Park that year.

Here’s a closer look at the cards:

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Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Kirk McCaskill (bottom left) pitched briefly (17.2 innings) for the Trappers in 1985, but after making his MLB debut on May 1st, the Ontario-born righty logged 189.2 innings for the big club, going 12-12 with a 4.70 ERA for the Angels in his rookie season.
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All eyes were on highly touted prospect Wally Joyner (middle right) during his first Triple-A season in Edmonton, where he was preparing to take over from the soon-to-be-retired Angels’ first baseman Rod Carew. During 126 games with the Trappers in 1985, Joyner was solid but not spectacular, posting 12 home runs, 73 RBI, 68 runs and a .283 batting average as a 23-year-old. He was off to California the following year and would not return to the minors again until the late 1990s, when the odd conditioning stint was needed.
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Dominican Manager Winston Llenas (center) played parts of six seasons for the California Angels, serving most effectively off the bench. He led the American League in pinch hits (16) and pinch hit at bats (56) in 1973. The Caribbean Baseball Hall of Famer played in Japan for the Taiheiyo Club Lions in 1976 before he managed in the Mexican League. Llenas returned as the Trappers manager in 1986.
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The Chris Clark card in the top left is noteworthy for a couple reasons. First, the Lakewood, California outfielder was a key player for the Trappers between 1983 and 1985. He played 376 games for Edmonton in that time, smacking 47 long balls, scoring 249 runs and producing 238 RBI. Clark played for the Albuquerque Dukes of the PCL in 1986, his final season in the minors. The second bit of awesome on the back of this card is the illustration of former Trapper Ron Kittle, which highlights his 50 homer, MVP season in 1982.
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Third baseman Jack Howell (middle right) of Tucson, Arizona went on to have a respectable MLB career that included 12 seasons with the Halos, Padres and Astros. His most productive season was in 1987 with California, when he went yard 23 times, while manufacturing 64 runs and 64 RBI.
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Norman Carrasco (bottom middle) never made it past the Triple-A level. He didn’t hit for power, although he could steal the odd base while playing solid defensively as an infielder. The main reason we draw attention to his card is the cartoon of Joe DiMaggio, acknowledging his 61-game hitting streak with the San Francisco Seals in 1933. That’s a fun bit of trivia!

Thanks for looking through the cards with us! 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.

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