It was just their second year of existence and the Edmonton Trappers needed an encore that represented more than just a coming out party.
The 1981 season confirmed that the Trappers belonged in Alberta’s capital city. The follow-up campaign offered up the team’s first superstar player.
Outfielder Ron Kittle of Gary, Indiana gave fans a great reason to come to John Ducey Park. Kittle, who began his professional playing career with the Lethbridge Dodgers, delivered 50 home runs, 121 runs, 144 runs batted in (RBI) and a .345 batting average for the Trappers. He was an easy choice as the most-valuable player in the Pacific Coast League in 1982, and the outstanding Triple-A outing set the table for Kittle’s American League (AL) Rookie of the Year season in 1983.
While Kittle led the offence, the supporting cast around him included future Major League Baseball (MLB) players on the mound and around the horn.
The Trappers were still a losing team, but they made improvements on the field and at the turnstiles. They went 70-74 and welcomed 233,044 fans to the ballpark, good for an average attendance of more than 3,200 per game.
This 25-card set also gave collectors something to celebrate about the Chicago White Sox affiliate. The posed photos, centred in a white border with an easy-to-read font for the names, gave the cards a classic look on the front. The back of each card also had a simple but pleasant look that offered up enough statistical and biographical information to give fans some baseball trivia about each player. The only thing missing from each cardboard cutout was that classic Trapper logo that looked so sharp.
Let’s take a closer look and get to know some of Kittle’s teammates a bit better:
As always, thanks for looking through the cardboard collectibles with us! We invite you to leave a comment about the players and cards below.
The photos for this gallery are courtesy of the operator of the Twitter account @EDM_BASEBALLFAN. A tip of the cap to that Edmonton baseball booster for sharing pictures of his cards with us!
We are seeking to create 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 the cause, please contact us with more information and to make arrangements.