In The Cards: 1992 Calgary Cannons


We’re back!

After a bit of a break to focus on other stories, other work behind-the-scenes, and watching the latest college and Major League Baseball Spring Training games, we have finally brought out some more baseball cards to sort out and put into their plastic sleeves and binders.

The 1992 edition of the Calgary Cannons had some big shoes to fill after the team made it all the way to the Pacific Coast League final, losing to the Tucson Toros.

READ MORE: In The Cards – 1991 Calgary Cannons

It would be a bit of an uphill battle though, as the Cannons wouldn’t have the services of reigning league MVP Tino Martinez, infielders Chuck Jackson and Steve Springer, outfielder Alan Cockrell or pitcher Dennis Powell. All had contributed to the lengthy playoff run and were either moving up to the big leagues or joining new organizations.

A few familiar faces were still in the mix heading into 1992, including infielders Rich Amaral and Mike Blowers, and workhorse pitcher Pat Rice, who went 13-4 in 21 starts the previous summer. Meantime, they also had some youngsters hoping to make an impression including Bret Boone, Greg Pirkl and Kerry Woodson.

With manager Keith Bodie and assistant coach Ross Grimsley back in the dugout, expectations were once again high at Foothills Stadium.

However, it wasn’t meant to be. The team struggled to capture any momentum, as they finished with a 60-78 record, failing to qualify for the playoffs. At the turnstiles, the team also struggled, ranking seventh out of ten teams, drawing a total of 277,307 fans over the season.

While the team didn’t look great, the cards created for them certainly took a step forward. After years of white borders and few statistics on the backs, a little more effort was put into the Fleer ProCards set of 1992 (you can see the Edmonton Trappers set here). The photography featured almost exclusively posed shots, and baseballs and bats were scattered around the dirt-coloured border. The players’ names, positions and team names were in the corners instead of on the tops and bottoms of past cards. As mentioned, the backs of the cards were a little more robust with information, including each person’s vital statistics to go along with their professional on-field numbers.

Let’s take a closer look at the cards as well as some of the stories of the players depicted.

The hopes were high for Mark Grant (top centre) after he was drafted 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 1981 MLB Draft. The Joliet Catholic Academy product quickly ascended up the Giants’ depth chart, making his debut with the National League squad in 1984. He went on to pitch in 233 games in eight big league seasons which also included stops with San Diego, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston and Colorado. It was during his lone season with the Mariners in 1992 where Grant made a short trip north of the border. He only pitched in four games for the Cannons, posting a 1-3 record and a 4.15 ERA. But Grant was here long enough to get a picture taken for a baseball card. In 1997, “Mud” started working in the Padres’ broadcast booth and has been an on-air favourite ever since. You can follow him on Twitter as he uses the handle @Mudcat55.
Speaking of highly-touted pitchers, Jim Newlin (top right) certainly made a name for himself as the closer for Wichita State University in 1989. He went 5-0 with 18 saves and a miniscule 1.08 ERA in 38 appearances. He also picked up three saves in five appearances during the College World Series. However, Newlin’s name was nowhere to be found on the All-American teams released by several publications, as his best games came after they went to press. Described by his pitching coach as “the most high-maintenance dude we ever had,” and even admitting himself that he was “so mental” because he was “always worried about how I looked or my radar gun reading.” Newlin was drafted in the 12th round of the 1989 MLB Draft by Seattle. Three years later, he made his way to Calgary, where he went 1-1 with three saves in 30 relief appearances for the Cannons. He returned to Alberta in 1993 and 1994 as a member of the Edmonton Trappers, coming out of the bullpen on 25 occasions to post a 2-4 record. It would be as close as Newlin would get to “The Show.”
Rich Amaral (top right) saw a LOT of minor league baseball before he finally became an everyday player in the majors. Drafted out of UCLA in 1983, Amaral made stops in Geneva, Quad Cities, Winston-Salem, Pittsfield, Birmingham, Vancouver and Calgary before landing with the Mariners. Having hit .346 with three homers, 36 RBIs and 30 stolen bases with the Cannons in 1991, many thought he’d have a shot at being an everyday infielder in Seattle the following year. However, he spent even more time in Calgary as he battled Bret Boone for the starting job at second base. Cannons fans were treated to another stellar performance from Amaral, who hit .318 with 21 RBIs and 53 stolen bases in 106 games. He finally cracked the big league lineup full time in 1993. “It took too long to get here,” he told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. “I can’t speak for anybody else but I definitely feel lucky to be where I’m at. So maybe I appreciate it more than some other guys just because of what I’ve been through.” Aside from another 14-game stint in Calgary in 1994, Amaral spent the next seven seasons in the bigs.
As they grow up, many baseball players dream of making it to the College World Series. Shane Turner (bottom left) made it twice with Cal State Fullerton, winning it all in 1984. Drafted the next year by the New York Yankees, the third baseman embarked on an 11-year professional baseball career that included 56 MLB games over three seasons with Philadelphia, Baltimore and Seattle. The Mariners sent Turner down to the Triple-A Calgary Cannons for the first time in 1992, where he hit .281 with 26 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 76 games. He returned in 1993 to hit .303 with 38 RBIs and six stolen bases in 86 games. He toiled in the minors for a couple of more years before turning his attention to coaching in the San Francisco Giants organization and remained with the team in a variety of roles for more than two decades.
He was the Calgary Cannon who almost wasn’t. Jeff Wetherby (top left) had been through the ups and downs of playing professional baseball since being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1985. He finally made it to the Majors with the Braves in 1989, hitting .208 with a home run and seven RBIs in 52 games. An interesting tidbit of trivia here: Wetherby’s lone home run came off a pitch from future Hall of Fame hurler Greg Maddux. Over the next two seasons, he was traded twice, quit the game, then signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners. “The whole thing has pretty much been a brutal year for me,” Wetherby told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s been up and down the last two years, the biggest roller-coaster ride I have ever been on.” He returned for one more season in 1992, where he played in 70 games for the Cannons. He hit .245 with three homers and 28 RBIs in that time.  Wetherby went onto become a scout with the Detroit Tigers, where he remains today. He also told of how in his first five years on the job, he racked up 196,000 miles on his vehicle.
There’s no number on the back of his card, but Randy Roetter certainly deserved to have his own cards over the course of his lengthy career as a trainer. Roetter has been involved with the Mariners’ system for 35 years now, including a four-year stint with the Calgary Cannons from 1990-1993. In 1997, he wrote a short book on athletic training entitled “Guidelines for Being a Minor League Baseball Trainer.” He also penned articles for the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society about athlete hydration and preventing heat illness, which is something he knows a lot about as he’s been with the Mariners’ Arizona League team in Peoria since 2001. “Water will help with rehydration of athletes, but sports drinks can provide more of what the dehydrated players need, including electrolytes and carbohydrates,” he wrote. “The flavour will encourage the athlete to drink while the electrolytes, especially sodium, replaces what the athlete lost in sweat.” Pass the Gatorade!

We hope you’ve enjoyed flipping through this set with us. Feel free to leave a comment about the players and cards below, or on your favourite social media channel.

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 led – to our cause, please email us at with more information and to make arrangements.


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