Day 127: August 13, 1991

Salt Lake City, UT

Park # 141

What I Remember

I remember Derks Field being gorgeous. Not “baseball park gorgeous,” as many stadiums were and are. These fields are beautiful to baseball fans because of their architecture or the greenness of the infield or the view of the setting sun or some combination of all of those things. Derks Field, though, was roadside viewpoint gorgeous. Though it was in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City, the Wasatch mountains beyond the outfield fence looked close enough to touch. The old park was torn down not long after we were there and a new park built in its place. I saw the field now known as Smith’s Ballpark on my 2003 trip and it too was very pretty, though perhaps not quite the same as Derks Field.

The Salt Lake Trappers were an anomaly in the world of 1991 minor league baseball. They were unaffiliated with a major league club, which made them rare – there were fewer than ten independent teams in all of minor league baseball then (there are none today,) but they were even more unusual because they also won a lot. Independent teams had a hard time competing in the higher rungs of the minors but the Trappers played in the rookie Pioneer League. Their roster was made up mostly of former college players who were very good – just judged to be not quite good enough to make it to the majors. The rest of the teams in the league, though, were made up mostly of 18 and 19 year olds who were long on potential but short on current skills. The Trappers went 49-21 that season, a .700 winning percentage, and won the league championship.

I also remember that we made friends with the umpires who were working this game in Salt Lake. They recognized us from our show on ESPN and we went out for beers with them after the game.

The Games

Salt Lake Trappers 5 Medicine Hat Blue Jays 1

The Box

A Note about this Site

This site is intended to be a companion to the upcoming book In League with America. Although some games were particularly notable and will appear in the book, most of the results of the 199 games we saw over the course of the 1991 season will not. Our journey was never really intended to be at the games themselves, it was about the places we saw and the people we met along the way.

However, there is now an historic nature to the results from this season. All of the players we saw then, even in the minors, have long since retired. Some of the players we saw at Class A are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. These pages, then, will function as kind of a digital appendix with a brief recollection of each day, the result of the game(s) we saw that day and a map of our daily drive.

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