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Salt Lake City Trappers

From BR Bullpen


The Salt Lake City Trappers began play in the Pioneer League in 1985 and won championships in their first three seasons. In their first season, led by skipper Jim Gattis, they went 46-24 and won the Southern Division title. Pitcher Ed McCarter led the league with 111 strikeouts, and third baseman Mark Grimes and designated hitter Jay Slotnick were All-Stars. The Trappers defeated the Great Falls Dodgers to win the league championship. In 1986, John Freitas managed the club before being replaced by Ruben Rodriguez in midseason, and the team finished in first with a 45-25 record. Pitchers Mike Kolovitz and Doug Vontz tied for the circuit lead with 8 wins each and were joined on the All-Star team by third baseman Robert Tinkey and DH Matt Huff. In the playoffs, they defeated the Dodgers again to capture their second title. The next season, Jim Gilligan took over as manager and led them to a 49-21 mark, which including a record 29 game winning streak. Outfielder Michael Malinak paced the league with 12 homers, and the Trappers had 4 All-Stars: Malinak, Huff, catcher Frank Colston, and pitcher Tim Peters. The team beat the Helena Brewers in the postseason to capture their third consecutive championship.

In 1988, new skipper Barry Moss led them to a 41-29 record, but they missed out on the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Nonetheless, Mando Verdugo hit a league-best 17 home runs, and pitcher Willie Ambos won a league-high 9 games. The next year, with Moss returning at the helm, the Trappers were below .500 (33-36) for the first time with third baseman Mike Grace as the their lone All-Star.

Nicholas Belmonte became manager in 1990, and the team improved to 42-26 and another first place finish. Ambos led the circuit with a 2.57 ERA, and third baseman Tom Duffin and DH Kevin McMullan joined him on the league's All-Star team. However, the Trappers were swept in the playoffs by Great Falls. The next year Belmonte led them to an even better record, 49-21, and another division title. Rick Hirtensteiner put up huge numbers, leading the league in runs (77), hits (105), homers (11), and RBIs, (71). In the postseason, they were able to get revenge on Great Falls, defeating them to capture another championship. In 1992, Belmonte's club went 53-23. Outfielder Tim Clark hit a league-best .357, and pitcher George Kerfut led the circuit with 10 wins. However, the team did not repeat as champs, being swept the Billings Mustangs in the playoffs.

After the 1992 season, Salt Lake City got a Pacific Coast League team, and the Trappers moved to Idaho and became the Pocatello Posse.

The Trappers played at Derks Field.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1985 46-24 1st Jim Gattis League Champs
1986 45-25 1st John Freitas; Ruben Rodriguez League Champs
1987 49-21 1st Jim Gilligan League Champs
1988 41-29 2nd Barry Moss
1989 33-36 2nd Barry Moss
1990 42-26 2nd Nick Belmonte Lost League Finals
1991 49-21 1st Nick Belmonte League Champs
1992 53-23 1st Nick Belmonte Lost League Finals