In The Cards: 1990 Edmonton Trappers


Off the field, the Edmonton Trappers were a team caught in a rundown in 1990.

Owner Peter Pocklington sold the Triple-A franchise for $5 million in August to Staten Island businessman Mike Nicklous, who planned to move the team to Memphis, Tennessee in time for the next Pacific Coast League (PCL) season.

Despite his rush to set up shop south of the border, Nicklous saw his plans delayed at a September meeting of PCL directors when Calgary Cannons owner Russ Parker proposed a two-part motion calling for a routine investigation into Nicklous and his business operations, as well as a condition that the Trappers remain in the provincial capital for at least another season and stay permanently if the City of Edmonton pledged to build the franchise a new stadium to replace John Ducey Park.

“There’s nothing on my record or my business partners’ record that could stop this deal,” Nicklous told the Edmonton Journal at the time.

The approval of Parker’s motion didn’t stop the transaction but it did give fans of the ball club a one-year reprieve and some hope that the Trappers would stay put. It also fueled a “Save the Trappers” movement aiming to generate more than 2,500 season-ticket commitments for the 1991 season.

By October, Nicklous had seen enough and he backed out of the deal, frustrated by what he expected would be a quick relocation.

“I think you’ve got a great future for baseball. Get the city to deliver a good ball park, and you’ve got a home run. But you’ve got to have the park,” Nicklous told Journal writer Mark Spector.

“And if you lose the team – forget it. You’ll never get it back.”

The California Angels re-signed the Trappers as their top minor-league affiliate shortly after, but the words of Nicklous proved prophetic. Telus Field took the place of John Ducey Park in 1995, ushering in another nine years of PCL baseball for Edmontonians. But the stadium was not enough to prevent the ultimate sale of the team to U.S. interests. The Trappers moved to Texas in 2004 and that brand of baseball has never come back.

Getting back to the 1990 season and what happened on the field, the Trappers were unfazed by the backroom dealings of the club.

Manager Max Oliveras guided the squad to a 78-63 record and a Northern Division title, their first since Edmonton won it all in 1984. The Albuquerque Dukes proved too much for the Trappers in the championship final, sweeping the best-of-five series against an Edmonton team that couldn’t get its bats going. John Wetteland put an exclamation point on the series by pitching more than eight frames of three-hit ball and striking out seven batters during the title-clinching 2-0 victory in Edmonton.

At the turnstiles, the Trappers welcomed 229,307 fans that season, averaging over 3,250 spectators per home game.

With all that in mind, let’s get to know this team a bit better through this instalment of In The Cards. This 1990 ProCards set with a wood-plaque border and gold name plate for each player has its own stories to tell. Here are some of them:

Righthander Mike Fetters (bottom left) made 44 starts for the Trappers between 1988-91. Nine of those outings were complete games, including three shutouts. He led the PCL in strikeouts in 1989, with 144 Ks through 168 innings. In 1990, the Californian split time between the big club and the Trappers, registering 27.1 innings for Edmonton, a 1-1 record and 26 strikeouts over five starts. With the Angels that year, the former first-rounder logged 67.2 innings and picked up his first MLB win, loss and save. After being converted from a starter to a reliever, Fetters went on to play 19 major-league seasons for nine different teams, collecting 100 career saves along the way. He is now the bullpen coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chris Beasley (middle left) was a stable presence in the Trapper rotation. Playing in his first season of Triple-A ball in 1990, the 28-year-old put together a 12-9 record, with a 4.49 earned run average (ERA), and 108 strikeouts during his 176.1 frames of mound work. Beasley returned to Edmonton the following two seasons, which were his last years of pro ball. But he didn’t retire without getting a taste of the major leagues. In 1991, the righty chucker appeared in 22 games out of the bullpen for the Angels. Despite a 3.37 ERA in 26.2 innings, Beasley was unable to secure a win or a save.
Corner infielder Chris Cron (bottom left) led the Trappers in home runs (17), RBI (75) and doubles (31) in 1990, his first of two seasons in Edmonton. He improved on those totals in 1991, launching 22 long balls and producing 91 RBI in 123 contests. That was enough to force the Angels to give him a six-game audition, but California released him after the season. The White Sox gave him their own six-game cameo in 1992, following a productive year at the plate for the Vancouver Canadians, but that would be it for Cron, who went 2-for-25 in the bigs. He played three more Triple-A seasons before moving onto coaching. The former second rounder has managed at every minor-league level – including four years with Great Falls in the Pioneer League – and he is currently the skipper of the Reno Aces in the PCL. He has two sons who became MLB players – C.J. Cron is a first baseman with the Detroit Tigers and Kevin Cron is a first baseman with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Shortstop Gary DiSarcina (middle right) was just getting his feet wet at the Triple-A level in 1990. The 22-year-old batted .212 with four homers and 37 RBI in 97 games that season, but he adjusted his game and improved his plate discipline the following year, hitting .310 with 58 RBI, 61 runs and 16 stolen bases during 119 appearances for the Trappers. An 11-year MLB career with the California and Anaheim Angels followed. The Massachusetts native played in 1,084 big-league games, scoring 444 runs while contributing 355 RBI. He was named an All-Star in 1995. After he hung up his cleats, DiSarcina entered the broadcast booth for the Boston Red Sox, where he witnessed their historic 2004 World Series victory. Since then, he was named the 2013 Minor League Manager of the Year for his work with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and he has served as a third base coach for the New York Mets.
Lee Stevens (top middle) was a highly productive hitter for the Trappers between 1989 and 1991, when he played 340 games as a first baseman and outfielder. The 22nd overall pick of the Angels in the 1986 MLB Draft swatted a total of 49 home runs and pushed through 236 RBI during his time with Edmonton. Sixteen of those homers and 66 of those RBI came in 1990, as Stevens posted a batting average of .293. Long considered Wally Joyner’s replacement in California, Stevens never settled into the role expected of him with the Angels. But the 6-foot-4 slugger suited up in 1,012 MLB games for the Angels, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and Cleveland. The Missouri-born masher posted 144 round trippers and 531 RBI while batting .254 at baseball’s highest level. He really hit his stride between 1997 and 2001. During that five-year stretch he averaged 22 homers and 77 RBI per season. The left-handed hitter was also part of a blockbuster trade during his final year in the majors. Stevens was dealt by the Expos with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips to Cleveland for Tim Drew and Bartolo Colon on June 27, 2002.
Second baseman Bobby Rose (top left) really blossomed with the Trappers in 1990. The result was one of the best pro seasons of his playing career. The California product – a fifth-round pick of the Angels in 1985 – led the team in hits, piling up 142 of them in 502 at bats. Ten of those were triples, another category he dominated for Edmonton. He was also tops on the Trappers in runs, with 84. Add in nine homers, 68 RBI, six stolen bases and a .283 batting average in 134 games and it was a solid campaign for the infielder. Rose split time in Edmonton and California in the early 1990s, completing his 73-game MLB career with five home runs through 200 at bats. A respected defensive player, Rose later found success playing baseball in Japan.

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

We’d like to express our appreciation, 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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