In The Cards: 1992 Medicine Hat Blue Jays


It’s difficult to measure where exactly the 1992 Medicine Hat Blue Jays rank on the lollygagger scale of professional baseball teams.

They weren’t quite as abysmal as the 1988 edition of the ball club, but these Baby Jays were seemingly immune to winning.

Through 75 games, the rookie-level affiliate collected just 23 victories, which amounted to a miserable .307 winning percentage. They scored 297 times but gave up 445 runs to their Pioneer League opponents. None of their hitters reached double-digit home runs and the team batting average was an awful .226.

The pitchers performed a bit better, registering a collective earned run average (ERA) of 4.75, but they still surrendered 52 long balls and uncorked 79 wild pitches.

Throw in an 18-game losing streak and the fans were less than impressed. Athletic Park welcomed just 16,827 people to the ballpark that season, which represented another last place finish in the eight-team league.

With that in mind, it seems fitting that this 30-card set from Sport Pro was created as a team souvenir. It’s a basic and forgettable offering for this edition of In The Cards. The front of each card boldly informs us of the team name, but there is no mention of the city it represents, the player or the position he plays. Photography-wise, the ball cap tells us that these are probably baseball players – and you can make out what looks like Athletic Park in the background – but the tightly cropped mug shots of each athlete leave a lot to be desired.

The back of each card is a slight improvement, with the big reveal of the city the team plays out of, as well as player names and information. Safeway, a team sponsor, got prominent placement here, too.

It should also be noted that the card stock is on the thin side, as is clear by the curl of each card when you put it down on a flat surface.

Let’s move on to a closer look at the roster, which did manage to produce a handful of Major League Baseball (MLB) players …

Alonso Beltran (bottom left) was the ace of the pitching staff, leading the team in starts (15), innings pitched (91.2), ERA, (3.14), WHIP (1.12), and wins, with four. He also finished second in strikeouts (66). The righthander from Mexico, a 14th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991, played professionally for nearly two decades. Beltran was named the most valuable player on the St. Catharines Blue Jays in 1993, after he went 11-2 with a 2.36 ERA and 101 Ks in 99 innings of work. Much of his playing time was at the Triple-A level in the Mexican League, and Beltran was inducted as a member of the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Jose Herrera (bottom right) built on his 1991 campaign with the Baby Jays and did a little bit of everything for Medicine Hat in 1992. The 19-year-old outfielder led the team in games played (72), at bats (265), runs (45), hits (72), stolen bases (32), and batting average (.272). The lefty also pitched in four games – three of them starts – for the Pioneer League contingent and went 0-2 with a .3.45 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. For his efforts, the Dominican was named the club’s MVP and most popular player. Herrera had an even more memorable summer in 1993, when he was dealt along with Steve Karsay to the Oakland Athletics for Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Herrera ended up playing 141 MLB games with the A’s over two seasons in the mid-1990s. He recorded six homers, 53 runs, 32 RBI, and a .264 batting average in that time. Herrera also played 122 games for the Edmonton Trappers in 1997.
Sharing outfield duties with Herrera was the hard-hitting Rickey Cradle (wearing glasses in the middle row on the right). The pride of Norfolk, Virginia led Medicine Hat in home runs, with nine, and walks (42). He finished second on the squad in RBI (36), runs (38), stolen bases (16), and on-base percentage (.361). The fifth-round pick in the 1991 MLB draft made his way to the majors in 1998 and appeared in five games for the Seattle Mariners. Cradle managed one hit in seven at bats, but he also produced a pair of RBI and a stolen base in his brief time in The Show.
Randy Phillips (top middle) was selected as the squad’s top pitcher at the end of the season and a look at the numbers reveals why. The Little Rock, Arkansas hurler took the mound in 15 games and went 2-4 with a 3.36 ERA and a team-leading 69 Ks through his 91 frames. Phillips, a right-handed pitcher, played 10 years of professional baseball, including a number of Triple-A seasons. When it was all said and done, his career pro stats were as follows: 185 games, 42-50 record, 4.25 ERA, four complete games, five saves, and 525 strikeouts.
Tom Evans (bottom right) was only 17 years old when he was drafted in the fourth round by Toronto and sent to Medicine Hat. The third baseman suited up in 52 games for the Baby Jays and batted .217, with a .348 OBP, 21 RBI, 17 runs and four stolen bases. The Kirkland, Washington product showed enough promise to climb the minor-league ranks over the next five years and make his MLB debut for the Blue Jays on Sept. 2nd, 1997. Evans ended up playing a total of 42 games for the big-league Jays and the Texas Rangers, During his 102 major league at bats, he collected one homer, 26 hits, 17 runs and seven RBI. He also played for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and in the Mexican League before landing a job as a hitting coach with the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League in 2011.
A pair of players from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, were presented with team honours following the 1992 campaign. Kadir Villalona (top left) was named the best defensive player, and Gabriel Reynoso (top right) was dubbed the most improved player. Villalona impressed in the outfield, where he made 146 put outs, eight assists and six errors, while posting a fielding percentage of .963 in 70 games. He played independent-league baseball after leaving The Gas City. Reynoso, meanwhile, went 4-8 with a 5.48 ERA in 14 starts for Medicine Hat. The southpaw also struck out 47 batters in 67.1 innings and recorded two complete games. Reynoso played indy ball up until 2000, and then he hung up his cleats.
Field manager Jim Nettles brought MLB experience to the diamond during his time as skipper. Nettles – the brother of highly-regarded Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles – played six season in the bigs for the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s. The outfielder also played in Japan and Mexico in the 1970s, and logged over 600 games in the minors. “What happened to me was I got successful so fast – I played one year in the minor leagues and I was in the big leagues. I just thought it would be too easy and I didn’t work at it,” the San Diego, California native told the Medicine Hat News at his introductory press conference. “I try to bring that philosophy to my players, don’t let it happen to you. Learn from my example … I took it for granted.” Nettles, the 10th field manager in Medicine Hat Blue Jays history, only spent one summer in southern Alberta. He later managed the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League for a pair of seasons in the mid-1990s.
Pitching coach Gilberto Rondon (bottom left) also brought MLB stories to the role. The New Yorker pitched for the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox in the 1970s. After working with the Baby Jays in 1991 and 1992, Rondon remained in baseball. He was a coach for Puerto Rico at the 2009 World Baseball Classic and later took a pitching coach gig in the Mexican League. One last note about this set of baseball cards … the blank white card in the lower right corner was most likely added so fans could use it to get autographs from the players.

Thanks for looking through 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 with more information and to make arrangements.


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