The Edmonton Trappers of the mid-1990s were a team in transition.
The 1994 club was awaiting the arrival of a new ballpark (Telus Field replaced John Ducey Park the following year), and more success on the diamond. The back-to-back Pacific Coast League (PCL) titles didn’t take place until 1996-97.
In the meantime, the Florida Marlins Triple-A affiliate was focused on preparing players for life at the Major League Baseball (MLB) level. Under manager Sal Rende, who would later serve as the skipper of the Calgary Cannons, the Trappers went 67-75 while welcoming 272,631 fans to home games. More importantly, the Trappers sent a number of prospects upstream to play for the Marlins, including hard-hitting outfielders Darrell Whitmore and Carl Everett.
As for the cardboard collectibles featured in this edition of
, this 27-card set was made by Fleer ProCards, which offered a decent enough standard of posed pictures and player information for minor-league baseball enthusiasts. In The Cards
Alright, let’s get to know some of these pin-striped pitchers and hitters a little better:
If Steve Long (middle right) looks a bit tired, it’s understandable. The Illinois product logged more mound time than any other PCL pitcher in 1994, putting in 172 innings of work over 29 starts. The righthander faced a league-high 781 batters that season and allowed 224 hits, which was also tops on the circuit. In addition, Long led the league in hit batters after he plunked 17 hitters. The sixth-round selection of the Montreal Expos from the 1990 MLB draft led the Trappers in wins, with 10, and he turned in two complete games. But his team-high 14 wild pitches and a 5.28 earned run average (ERA) also resulted in 11 losses. Long never made it to the big leagues. He played another season of Triple-A baseball with the Charlotte Knights of the International League in 1995 before ending his professional playing career on an independent league club.
Righty reliever Brian Drahman (middle left) served as the closer for the Trap and led the club with 13 saves. In 45 games and just over 60 innings with Edmonton, the Floridian went 3-2 with 62 strikeouts and a 4.77 ERA. It was a familiar role for the hill topper, who was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1986. Drahman picked up 143 saves at every level of baseball, from Rookie Level with the Helena Brewers to his MLB time with the Chicago White Sox in the early 1990s. He appeared in 47 MLB contests and pitched for 13 minor-league seasons. The 6-foot-3 hurler – who was traded from the Brewers to the White Sox in 1989 for Jerry Reuss – also played indy ball and in the Mexican League. Drahman was the pitching coach of the Great Falls Voyagers from 2009-2015 and in 2018 he took a job with the White Sox as a rehab pitching coach.
Infielder Al Pedrique (middle right) is a study in perseverance. The Venezuelan, who had some fun with the Fleer photographer by assuming a pitcher pose for this set, was signed by the New York Mets in 1978 and didn’t make his MLB debut until nine years later. The light-hitting Pedrique played for 17 seasons and managed to get into 174 MLB games with the Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers along the way. His 195 games with the Trappers in 1993-94 represented the final posting of his pro playing career. But Pedrique wasn’t done with baseball after Edmonton. He rose through the managerial ranks of the minor leagues in the late 1990s and early 2000s before being named the interim manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004. That season he was accused of “professional cowardice” by Tom Verducci of after D’backs pitchers were ordered to intentionally walk Barry Bonds during an entire three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. Bonds was close to hitting his milestone 700th career home run at the time. Later with the Houston Astros, Pedrique was instrumental in getting the MLB team to Sports Illustrated take a chance on star second baseman Jose Altuve. The well-traveled baseball man has since worked as a base coach with the Oakland Athletics and more recently with the Miami Marlins.
Russ Morman (centre) was a key component of the offence for the Trappers. The first baseman from Independence, Missouri led the team in runs batted in (RBI) with 82 through 114 PCL games in 1994. He also smacked 19 homers and 30 doubles while batting .350 with a .400 on-base percentage. The veteran – Morman was 32 years old at the time – played for 17 years in the minors, including a pair of campaigns with the Vancouver Canadians in the late 1980s. The right-handed batter also suited up in 207 MLB games with the White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins. He finished his playing days with the Calgary Cannons in 1999. Morman worked as a manager and hitting coach in the minors, where he worked for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, as well as the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and Fresno Grizzlies.
Outfielders Monty Fariss (top middle) and Darrell Whitmore (middle left) led the team in homers in 1994, with both sluggers clubbing 20 long balls during the campaign. Fariss, a sixth overall pick of the Texas Rangers in 1988, played two years in Edmonton and picked up 97 RBI through 203 games. The first rounder, who was acquired by Florida in the 1992 expansion draft, played a total of 104 MLB games with the Rangers and Marlins. Whitmore, a second round pick of Cleveland’s in 1990, had a somewhat similar career path. The Virginia product also played for two years in the Alberta capital and finished his playing career with 112 MLB games under his belt – all with the Marlins. He was also picked up in the expansion draft. Whitmore was an exceptional college football player and he also spent time in Japan with the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
John Massarelli didn’t bring any prospect hype to the lineup, but the outfielder from Canton, Ohio delivered plenty of hustle to the lineup. The career minor leaguer led the PCL in triples in 1994, with 10 in 120 games. His 39 stolen bases were also good for second place in the league. Massarelli also hit .261 with 67 runs during his year with the Trappers. The former pick of the Houston Astros became a minor-league manager and an independent league skipper when his playing days came to an end. Massarelli is a member of the Akron Baseball Hall of Fame who now runs a baseball school.
Thanks for checking out our latest set of Alberta baseball cards. Let us know what you think about the players and cards in the comments below.
Major kudos, 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 (or team programs from Alberta squads) you’d like to donate – or lend – to our cause, please email us at AlbertaDugoutStories@gmail.com with more information.