In The Cards: 1990 Medicine Hat Blue Jays


The Gas City plays host for this edition of In The Cards. The 1990 Medicine Hat Blue Jays are in the spotlight for this one.

Unfortunately, the rookie-level affiliate had a rough go of it that season, finishing a dismal 20-47 in the Pioneer League under manager Garth Iorg, who was a long-time utility infielder with the Toronto Blue Jays during his playing days. The Baby Jays had some talent in the lineup though, and a number of players on the roster ended up playing Major League Baseball (MLB).

This 28-card set was made by Best Cards, of Birmingham, Alabama. It features glossy images, but the shiny cards were betrayed by some lackluster photography and uninspired poses. The back of each card also includes a mug shot of each player, which is a nice touch, but a dearth of information makes the layout look a bit too barren. Another noticeable omission is cards of the manager and coaching staff – somehow they didn’t make the cut for this players only set.


First baseman Tim Hyers (top right) didn’t have a great year in Medicine Hat. He batted .219 with 19 RBI and 29 runs scored over 61 games. The Georgia product did, however, play 133 games for four MLB teams. In his final season of playing professional baseball in 1999, Hyers ended up suiting up for the Calgary Cannons and the Florida Marlins. After that he went into coaching – he currently serves as the Boston Red Sox hitting coach.
Infielder Mike Coolbaugh (top left) also had an underwhelming  1990, hitting just .190 with 16 RBI and 21 runs in 58 contests. But like his teammate Hyers, Coolbaugh managed to break into the majors. He manned third base for the Milwaukee Brewers for 39 games in 2001 and was able to hit a pair of dingers in that time. A five-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals followed in 2002. Coolbaugh died in 2007 when he was hit in the neck by a line drive while working as the first base coach for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. Minor League Baseball (MiLB) now presents the Mike Coolbaugh Award annually to minor league figures who show outstanding work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players.
Even though he was just 19 years old, outfielder Brent Bowers (top left) was a veteran on the Medicine Hat Blue Jays. He played 54 games for the Baby Jays in 1989 and followed that up with 60 more appearances for Medicine Hat in 1990. Bowers responded with a solid sophomore campaign that saw him hit .274, with 27 RBI, 30 runs and 19 stolen bases. The man from Illinois played 21 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 and he continued playing professionally until 2002. After that, Bowers returned to Alberta to work as the manager of the Edmonton Cracker-Cats and Capitals between 2008 and 2010.
Scott Miller (middle right) was the team’s most effective closer. The righthander picked up five saves over 22.2 innings pitched, racking up 19 Ks in that time. Miller was the only Medicine Hat Blue Jays pitcher to not surrender a home run in 1990, and he posted a 1.19 earned run average (ERA).
Fourth-round draft pick Howard Battle (bottom middle) was the most productive hitter for the Baby Jays. The third baseman led the team in home runs (5) and RBI (32). He played 61 games and posted a .266 batting average in 1990. Battle played 29 MLB games for Toronto, Philadelphia and Atlanta. His only major-league long ball came with the Braves in 1999.
Pitcher John Gilligan (top left) had an eventful season. The righty from Billings, Montana only started two games but one of those was a complete game. Over 55.2 innings, the 22-year-old notched 43 strikeouts while posting a 2.75 ERA. Those numbers suggest he was unlucky to carry a 1-6 record that year. Gilligan also recorded a save in 1990. He played two more seasons in the Pioneer League with the Salt Lake City Trappers – who won a title in 1991 – before pitching for the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks of the independent Northern League in 1993.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of In The Cards. We encourage you to leave a comment about the players and cards below.

We continue to add to our online digital archive of Alberta baseball card sets with this series. If you have baseball cards you’d like to donate – or lend – to the cause, please email us at with details.


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