In The Cards: 1992 Edmonton Trappers


There really must be something in the water in Edmonton.

In 1992, “King Fish” Tim Salmon made it rain as a member of the Trappers. The outfielder led the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in home runs (29), total bases (275), runs batted in (105), extra base hits (71), on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.672). The stellar campaign – Salmon’s only year of Triple-A baseball – earned him PCL most valuable player (MVP) honours and a callup to the California Angels at the end of the season.

The feat, which was followed by an American League (AL) Rookie of the Year award for Salmon in 1993, brought back memories of another former Trapper. Ron Kittle also won the PCL MVP title and AL Rookie of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

Salmon’s card from this 1992 Fleer ProCards set – the subject of this edition of In The Cards – was undoubtedly the most sought after of the bunch. The design work on these cards is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. It’s neat that the baseballs and bats align like a puzzle when you place the cards next to each other, but they also have sort of a Little League feel to them. That said, they look better than a lot of minor-league cardboard collectibles and the back of each card also has enough statistical and biographical information to be educational for fans.

The 1992 Trappers, meanwhile, went 74-69 under manager Max Oliveras. That record was not good enough to qualify for postseason action, but Edmonton did welcome 257,146 baseball watchers to John Ducey Park that season. Many of them were fortunate enough to enjoy some cameos from some impressive big-league talent that year, including Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, as well as batters Oddibe McDowell and Hubie Brooks. Those players weren’t in Edmonton long enough to have their images captured for a Trappers baseball card, but let’s see who was:

Willie Fraser (middle left) was one of the more effective arms on Edmonton’s roster. The New Yorker went 7-6 with six saves and a 4.90 earned run average (ERA) during 90 innings with the Trappers in 1992. The 15th overall selection of the California Angels in the 1985 MLB draft played parts of four separate seasons with Trappers between 1986 and 1994. He also pitched in 239 MLB games for the Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos. At that level, he went 38-40 with a 4.47 ERA and seven saves over 657 innings.
Right-handed pitcher Scott Lewis (middle) was also a key contributor for the Trappers. Over 146.2 innings he compiled a 10-6 record with a 4.17 ERA and 88 strikeouts. This was his last of three seasons with the Trappers. The Oregon product appeared in 74 MLB games, all of them for the California Angels. With the big club, he went 9-9 with a 5.01 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 178 innings between 1990 and 1994.
While Salmon was nabbing most of the headlines for the Trappers, first baseman and outfielder Ty Van Burkleo (bottom left) gave Edmonton a solid one-two punch at the plate. The Californian smacked 19 homers, scored 83 runs, produced 88 runs batted in (RBI) and stole 20 bases in 135 PCL games in 1992. The undrafted Van Burkleo got a taste of the MLB life as a player when he suited up for the Angels for 12 games in 1993. He hit his first and only home run in the majors during that stint. A pair of games with the Colorado Rockies followed in 1994, but his biggest impact at the major-league level came as a hitting coach. He has coached with the Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians.
For Ken Oberkfell (middle left), this was his final season playing professional baseball. The Illinois native was putting the finishing touches on a 19-year MLB career that included 1,602 games with the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and the Angels. The journeyman infielder batted .278 over the course of his MLB career. He split time between the Angels and the Trappers in 1992. Oberkfell later became a coach in the New York Mets system and with independent league teams.
That’s Tim Salmon (top left) finishing his swing and looking to the future. We mentioned his PCL achievements in the intro, but it’s safe to say that the third-round draft pick of the Angels was one of Edmonton’s most successful baseball graduates. After leaving the Alberta capital, the outfielder played 1,672 games over 14 MLB seasons, all of them with the Angels. He finished with 299 long balls, 1,016 RBI, 986 runs and a .282 batting average. In addition to collecting the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1993, Salmon picked up a Silver Slugger award in 1995 and a World Series ring in 2002. He’s also a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
Outfielder Reggie Williams (top middle) was Edmonton’s dominant threat on the base paths. He led the team in stolen bases, with 44 in 1992. That total was good for third place in the PCL. The South Carolina product played 88 MLB games over four seasons with the Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. Williams, who later coached briefly in the Pioneer League, picked up a pair of homers and five stolen bases in the big leagues.

Thanks for checking out our latest set of Alberta baseball cards. Let us know what you think about the players and cards in the comments below.

Major kudos, as well, to the operator of the Edmonton Baseball Fan Twitter account for sharing these baseball card images with us!

We are in the process of developing an online digital archive of Alberta baseball card sets with this In The Cards series. If you have baseball cards you’d like to donate – or lend – to our cause, please email us at with more information.


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