In The Cards: 1990 Calgary Cannons


When you think about the Calgary Cannons, images of red and white uniforms often come to mind, but these blue jerseys and caps look outstanding.

For your viewing pleasure, this edition of In The Cards focuses on the 1990 Cannons.

Led by Pacific Coast League (PCL) All Star first baseman Tino Martinez, who was named the team’s most valuable player, the Cannons posted a 66-77 record that season and failed to make the playoffs. The club did very well at the turnstile, however, welcoming 312,416 fans to Foothills Stadium. That worked out to an average crowd of 4,882 at 64 home games.

This 25-card set of glossy cards features a neat design that captures the team logo in a home-plate shaped box in the lower left corner, but the green-and-yellow border clashes somewhat with those sweet-looking uniforms. There’s another shade of green on the back of each card – perhaps it’s a nod to the grass that the teams play on – and enough information to tell you all you need to know about each player. Aside from the colour schemes and uninspired player photos, it’s a well-designed set.

Alright, onto the cards:

1990 was a breakthrough season for pitcher Dave Burba (middle right), who appeared in 31 games for the Cannons. Of those outings, 18 were starts, as Burba compiled a Triple-A record of 10-6 with a 4.67 ERA and a pair of saves. The righthander made his MLB debut on Sept. 8th that year and he ended up pitching  for 15 seasons in the big leagues with six different teams. Burba was involved in some high-profile trades during his career, including a 1991 deal that saw the Mariners move him, Mike Jackson and Bill Swift to the San Francisco Giants for Kevin Mitchell, Mike Remlinger and minor-league prospect Joshua Knox. In 1995, the Giants moved Burba, Darren Lewis and Mark Portugal to the Cincinnati Reds for Deion Sanders and four other players. The Ohio native put up solid numbers over his lengthy MLB career, going 115-87 with a 4.49 ERA and 1,398 Ks.
Southpaw Vance Lovelace (bottom left) got a taste of pitching for both sides of baseball’s Battle of Alberta. The Florida product was on the Edmonton Trappers roster in 1988 and 1989. He was very good for the Cannons in 1990, taking the mound in 56 games and picking up six saves. Lovelace also posted a 5-5 record with a 3.47 ERA and 40 strikeouts during 70 innings pitched. The first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1981 managed to make it into nine MLB games with the Seattle Mariners and California Angels. Lovelace later took on several roles with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including special assistant to the general manager, director of pro scouting and vice-president of player personnel.
At least they got the last name right. The name says Edgar Martinez (top right), but that is a picture of hard-hitting first baseman Tino Martinez. Edgar played plenty in Calgary (as the back of the card indicates), but he didn’t suit up for the Cannons in 1990. Tino, meanwhile, enjoyed a terrific first season of Triple-A baseball in Cowtown, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 93 RBI while batting .320. Tino ended up playing 2,023 MLB games, mostly with the Mariners and New York Yankees, collecting 339 long balls and 1,271 RBI in the bigs.
Catcher Bill “Moose” McGuire (middle) won’t be remembered much for his offensive production, but he was a hugely popular player in Calgary. He played three seasons for the Cannons from 1988 through 1990 and was recognized by Baseball America as the top defensive catcher in the PCL in 1990. The native of Omaha, Nebraska played 23 games for the Mariners, hitting one home run while batting .182 in 44 at bats. Seattle’s first-round pick in 1985 also ended up working in the minor leagues as a hitting coach and manger during the 1990s.
Righthander Jose Melendez (middle left) was excellent for the Cannons in 1990, going 11-4 with a 3.90 ERA over 124.2 innings. The Puerto Rican, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983, played in 45 games for Calgary and made 10 starts. He also struck out 95 batters. Melendez put up good numbers in the major leagues, as well, going 16-14 with a 3.47 ERA for the Mariners, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox.
Outfielder Casey Close (top left) was a steady performer for Calgary in what would be his final season playing professional baseball. In 128 games, he batted .270 while launching 12 home runs and stealing 15 bases. The Ohio product also collected 71 runs, 69 RBI, 30 doubles and four triples during his 463 at bats for the Cannons. Close later had a highly successful career as a sports agent, representing Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.

Thanks for going down memory lane with us, cardboard style. We encourage you to leave a comment about the players and cards below.

We are hoping 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 our cause, please email us at with more information and to make arrangements.


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