Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Trappers were honored Thursday at Spring Mobile Ballpark, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1987 season that saw a 29-game winning streak and Pioneer League championship.
Their celebratory presence couldn't help the Bees, who limped to an 11-7 loss Thursday night.
To this day, the 29-game streak remains the longest in American baseball history and likely to stay that way until the end of time.
Trappers manager Jim Gilligan was in attendance, and acknowledged that the streak will probably never be broken.
"Baseball is not a game to dominate like that. Check swings become game-winning doubles, and line drives become triple plays so the best team doesn't always win," said Gilligan. "Our streak was very unusual. We just did it so someone else could do it, but I doubt that your ever going to see a lineup like ours that was batting .320."
Trappers part owner Bill Murray was also in Salt Lake for the festivities, and credited team owner Van Schley as being the architect of the 1987 squad.
"Van (Schley) is really the guy to ask. He built that team. He found that team. He recruited that team. He was the architect of that team. He's the brains of that team. I basically just goofed off in the dugout," said Murray.
Schley mentioned that 1,000 players would be drafted to MLB after college, and the rest were left to find their own way. Those 'leftover' players would get their shot with the Trappers, and leave a legacy unmatched by their opponents.
"The college players that didn't have the specific skills that major league teams looked for at each position, and now they've changed their thinking," said Schley.
"Those are the type of players we had."
Trappers slugger Frank Colston said that for the longest time he never even thought about the streak.
"I really didn't put a lot of thought into it. Initially I thought someone would break it, and then I've gone through points where I thought nobody would break it," said Colston.
Although it sometimes fades in and out of his mind, Colston admitted that just being back with his former teammates was enough nostalgia.
"It's been great. Just this right here is priceless stuff for us guys. This city has been so gracious, and the organization here … I'm very grateful for what they have done for us."
Schley also commented on the Trappers presence in Utah, the legacy they left and how the team was just happy to find a home in Salt Lake.
"It changed the legacy of Independent baseball, but having the Trappers being successful helped getting support back for baseball in Utah," said Schley. "Salt Lake is a great baseball town. Triple-A was going to happen, but the Trappers were just a low in-between it because it's a Triple-A city. We were just lucky to get a little nook."
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