The Salt Lake Trappers apparently built more than the longest winning streak in pro baseball history.
They also created some opportunity for themselves. One season after the team's 29-game ride, 10 Trappers have joined major-league organizations. Another two landed in extended spring training camps. That's not bad for a team composed of undrafted or released players."I have to believe it did give us more exposure," said pitcher Kent Hetrick, assigned to Milwaukee's farm club in Beloit of the Midwest League. "I definitely think it helped."
"It got me a chance to continue playing," said catcher Frank Colston. "After that, the rest is in my hands. It's up to me."
Colston, 23, is now playing with Seattle's farm club in Wausau, Wis., of the Midwest League. So is pitcher Kurt Stange. They, and the rest of their teammates, may never reach the majors. But they have a chance, and that's all young players ask.
"They're all prospects," said Tom Kayser of Cincinnati's player development department. "You never know when a guy is going to develop into a player who is going to make the major leagues. As long as a player has the uniform on, he's got a chance."
The Trappers, an entry in the Pioneer League, began their streak June 25 with a victory over Pocatello. They won until Billings beat them July 27. Players said they hoped the streak would bring them a look from scouts.
"I'll never get that kind of exposure playing minor-league baseball," Hetrick said. "We had 10,000 people a night."
Other former Trappers assigned to big-league chains are: first baseman Matt Huff, sent by Los Angeles to Miami of the Florida State League; outfielder Jon Beuder, Los Angeles' farm club in Bakersfield of the California League; and shortstop Jim Ferguson, St. Louis' farm club in Savannah of the South Atlantic League.
Also: pitcher Tim Peters, Montreal's club in Rockford of the Midwest League; pitcher Isaac Alleyne, Montreal's club in Bradenton of the Gulf Coast League; outfielder Mike Malinak, Cincinnati's club in Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League; and first baseman-outfielder Adam Casillas, Cincinnati's farm in Greensboro of the South Atlantic League.
Cincinnati sent pitcher John Groennert to extended spring training. Boston did the same with pitcher John Dolan.
Dodgers director of scouting Ben Wade said no player should feel slighted if not drafted.