In The Cards: 1994 Lethbridge Mounties

By IAN WILSON

It’s said that the Mounties “always get their man.” Well, the 1994 Lethbridge Mounties rounded up at least 30 of them who were guilty of stealing bases and punching out batters.

Behold the photographic evidence, a rogues’ gallery of southern Alberta baseball players. There will never be a case of mistaken identity with this group. Murderers’ row, they were not.

The Mounties, an unaffiliated member of the rookie-level Pioneer League, went 29-43 that season, finishing 21 games behind the pennant pace while posting a negative run differential of 107. Lethbridge welcomed a total of 42,970 fans to Henderson Stadium, a facility that was praised by author Brett H. Mandel in his book Minor Players, Major Dreams.

“In the Lethbridge locker room it was as if we were suddenly promoted to Triple-A,” wrote Mandel, who got a first-hand look at the ballpark as a member of the Ogden Raptors in 1994.

“The cavernous room was clean and bright with more than enough lockers, an office for the coaches, and an actual training room. The bathroom was modern, and the showers looked as if there was a hope of getting hot water from the faucets. Compared to the cave that was Helena’s locker room, with its one working light bulb and freezing shower chamber, or Butte, where we had to trudge to a neighboring building to find locker-room facilities, Lethbridge was a dream come true.”

The pin-striped Mounties proved to be generous hosts, on the field and off it.

As for the Fleer ProCards set, it’s fairly standard for that era. Static poses and a clean design punctuate the front of each card, while the back includes an adequate amount of player information and sponsor logos.

Let’s take a closer look during this edition of In The Cards:

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Southpaw Dale Ballance (top middle) was the ace of the Lethbridge rotation, leading the team in innings pitched (93.1), strikeouts (57), and wins. In 15 games, the Nanaimo-born pitcher went 5-6 with a 4.63 earned run average (ERA). This was his third and final season with the Mounties. Ballance later played for the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Sioux City Explorers of the independent Northern League.
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Craig Farmer (top right) served as the team’s primary closer, picking up 13 saves on the year. The righthander had a very good season, going 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA. Farmer, who was recruited from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, struck out 45 batters through 34.1 innings of work.
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Pitcher John Henrickson (top left) played just one season of professional baseball, logging 59 innings for the Mounties in 1994. Over that span, he went 4-5 with a 6.10 ERA and 55 Ks. The 21-year-old was the only hurler to pitch a complete-game shutout for Lethbridge that season.
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Righthander John Nape (middle right) was a regular in the rotation, making 14 starts and putting in 80.2 innings pitched. A 28th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 (798th overall), Nape went 2-6 with a 6.47 ERA and 46 strikeouts. This was the Illinois product’s only season of pro baseball.
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Marty Boryczewski, John Liepa and Corey Woinarowicz handled catching duties for the Mounties. None of the three excelled at the plate, but Woinarowicz saw the most action, appearing in 43 games. He hit .250 and scored 19 runs in 1994.
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Clayton Premack (top left) pitched 25.2 innings for Lethbridge, earning a win and a save. The Vancouver native struck out 24 batters but he also surrendered 23 earned runs in that time.
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Shortstop Mark Duncan (top right) was the best hitter on the Mounties. In 70 games and 270 at bats, he led Lethbridge in hits (89), batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.402) and hit by pitch (17). Duncan also stole 16 bases, hit 11 doubles and picked up five triples.
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Oklahoma-born first baseman Kevin Holt (middle left) had a respectable 1994 campaign, in which he batted .304, produced 43 RBI, scored 36 runs and swiped 10 bags through 68 games. Holt spent 1995-1997 playing baseball in the independent Frontier League with the Johnstown Steal and Richmond Roosters.
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Manager Phillip Wellman (middle right) has spent over three decades coaching minor-league baseball teams. In 2007, Wellman had a spectacular meltdown with the Double-A Mississippi Braves, covering home plate with dirt, tossing third base into the outfield, and simulating a grenade toss toward the umpire. The footage is truly magnificent. Wellman is now the manager of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, a San Diego Padres affiliate in the Texas League.
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Illinois outfielder Chris Priest (middle left) led the Mounties in home runs (14) and RBI (55). He also stole 19 bases and batted .307. His teammate, Thurston Rockmore (bottom left) – whose name sounds like that of a Family Guy character – was the stolen base leader in Lethbridge. He swiped 31 bags and was caught stealing 15 times. The Texas outfielder also played with Holt in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

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

Many thanks, as well, to follower Larry Leach, who scanned these cards and sent them our way so we could share them with you!

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 AlbertaDugoutStories@gmail.com with more information.

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