'The Streak': 25 years later, the Trappers' record-setting performance still stands tall
The national media were starting to catch onto the story as well, but the magnitude of what was happening had not fully sunk in — at least not with the players.
In a doubleheader, the Trappers beat the Braves again for wins 24 and 25. They delivered win No. 26 in a 14-4 pounding of the Braves to set the stage for a chance to tie the record.
For that potential 27th consecutive win, the Trappers took the field on Pioneer Day. A capacity crowd packed Derks Field to see the fireworks both on and off the field.
Trapper outfielder Beuder did not disappoint, blasting a towering first-inning grand slam. The score after the first inning was 6-0. The Trappers cruised to victory.
By now, members of the national media were involved, and credential requests flooded in. News media from all over the country came to see this "unbeatable team." Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, ESPN and CNN all jumped in. ABC's "Wide World of Sports" named Colston and Ferguson its athletes of the week.
Before the historic 28th game, the atmosphere around Derks Field was electric. There was even talk Murray, who was in Paris, would fly back on the Concord to make it in time for the game.
"That game was the most incredible site I have seen at a baseball game," Kerdoon said. "Kids in trees watching the game, people on rooftops, scalpers selling tickets. This is what you expect to see at a Cubs game."
Added Pearson: "It was one of those magical things that everyone wanted to be a part of. I run into people today who claim to have been there for the historic game. By my unofficial count, everyone in the valley was there."
Pearson's perspective was somewhat unique because he had to deal with the baseball skeptics who wondered how a Rookie League team would be received in the Salt Lake community right after the departure of the Gulls' franchise.
"People were a little bit disappointed with a Rookie League team coming in because they felt the quality of baseball was not going to be the same," he said. "But that's what made the Trappers' situation with 'The Streak' so special. You had to understand how far we had to come to even get to this point of acceptance. You don't understand. This type of exposure never happens to a Rookie League baseball team. That's why it was satisfying to see."
All of the Trappers' media coverage was not positive. There were comments from Sheldon Bender, the Cincinnati Reds director of player personnel, claiming the Trappers had an unfair advantage due to the number of college players they had. Others like Gord Ash, in the same role for the Toronto Blue Jays, jumped into the fray with similar concerns. Even St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog knocked the Trappers for having too much experience.
To that, the local press said it was just sour grapes. The Trappers had followed all of the Pioneer League bylaws. Players could only play for the same team two years in a row, and league rules stated teams could only bring back five players from the previous year. The Trappers met those stipulations.
It was a warm summer night on July 25 in front of the largest crowd of the season, and 9,968 fans witnessed history. Those who couldn't get inside the park to see the action close up watched from the rooftops of neighboring businesses, others listened to their radios. WFAN in New York even took the radio feed on its station to air the game.
The Trappers took the field, just as they had 27 times before that night. The tension was thick.
Colston remembers how the team felt leading up to the start of the game: "Everything in the clubhouse was very quiet that night. Max Patkin, "The Clown Prince of Baseball," was talking with the players before telling us about Babe Ruth and the legends of the game trying to lighten the mood, but everyone was focused."
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