It was one of the finest seasons the Calgary Cannons experienced in their 18-year history.
They turned in a franchise-best record of 84 wins and 57 losses on their way to first place in the Northern Division and an appearance in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) championship.
But sadly, it wasn’t enough.
The Cannons were unable to muster their best play during the finals and lost the best-of-five series to the underdog Albuquerque Dukes, who won three straight games after dropping the opener.
“I can’t believe we lost,” a stunned Calgary manager Bill Plummer said following the last game of the series, which was witnessed by 8,156 fans at Sports Stadium in New Mexico on Sept. 11, 1987.
“As far as I’m concerned, these guys are still winners. I told them to hold their heads high.”
Catcher Jerry Narron was also stung by the upset.
“We couldn’t have played any worse if we tried … it was just plain bad baseball. You name it, we did it,” Narron told Calgary Herald reporter Gyle Konotopetz.
Despite the disappointment, it was still a successful campaign for the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Calgary led the PCL in several offensive categories, including team batting average (.287), runs (837), hits (1,380), total bases (2,095), home runs (120), runs batted in (758), slugging average (.435), on-base percentage (.374) and fewest strikeouts (649).
They welcomed 304,897 fans to Foothills Stadium, for an average crowd of 4,325 baseball watchers per home game. That marked the start of a five-year stretch where the Cannons surpassed the 300,000 mark in attendance.
As for the baseball cards pictured here, they are very similar to the 1986 team set, which was also produced by ProCards. It’s a simple, white-border design with a red-line frame of the photos on the front. The pictures are “meh” but at least they are in focus. The big design differences from the previous year are the addition of the city name in all caps at the top, and the placement of the Cannons logo on the left, rather than the right side of the card.
The card backs include basic biographical data and stats. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is back as a partner. Accompanying the CPS logo are a number of safety messages like this: “Don’t vandalize public telephones – you may need them in an emergency,” and “Don’t hitchhike – you may be thumbing your life away.” Wise words that have stood the test of time.
Moving on, let’s take a closer look at the Calgary roster …
Thanks for looking over this set with us. We encourage you to leave a comment about the players and cards below.
We are currently developing 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 AlbertaDugoutStories@gmail.com with more information and to make arrangements.