So maybe they weren't part of the legend. They are the legacy, and they know it, and for opening night, maybe that was enough.
The Salt Lake Trappers spotted the Butte Copper Kings the first six runs of the season opener in Alumni Stadium. They had two out in the fifth inning before they even got a hit.Yet the Trappers of 1988, just like the Trappers of old, came back to win their first game in familiar heartstopping fashion Monday night, beating the Copper Kings 7-6 with a three-run ninth-inning rally topped by a ninth-inning defensive stand.
"I hope this isn't going to be an everyday deal," laughed Manager Barry Moss. "I'd like to knock it around better than we did."
The Traps did it with only five hits.
Their first run of the season, in the fifth, was scored on a balk. Their final run of the game, the winner, was scored because of a wild pitch.
But this isn't new stuff. The legend is still breathing.
A walk to Jeff Allison, a hit batsman (Kelly Zane), a Kerry Shaw RBI single, a throwing error on a Tommy Boyce infield grounder and a run-scoring wild pitch gave the Trappers a three-run ninth inning to take them from a 6-4 deficit to their first lead of the 1988 Pioneer League season.
Then, they had to hold onto it in the bottom of the ninth when, with one out, a hit batsman (Dominic Pierce) and an error by Zane on a ball that bounced off his leg prompted Moss to intentionally walk a man to load the bases.
Moss was hoping Butte would change batters, giving him a chance to change pitchers and save on Sean Johnson, since the Trapper pitching staff is only eight men at present, but no such luck.
Instead, Johnson - who didn't allow a hit or run in 31/3 innings - got Jeff Wardlow to hit a low fly ball to Rick Hurni in right field, and, with Hurni's strong arm, the Copper Kings couldn't chance trying to take home. Bases loaded, two out.
Travis Law, the Butte leadoff batter, bounced a slow grounder to Zane at second. Zane had only one play - a quick underhand throw to first - and he got Law out by half a step to end the game.
"Johnson was real clutch," said Moss, "and defense kept us in it."
When the Trappers were down 6-0, said Johnson, "A lot of guys weren't down. It was getting a little quiet, but guys were saying, `Come on, we're Trappers. We're a scrappy type of team. That's what
we've been doing. That's our reputation.'
"Once we tied it up and went ahead, we said, `Let's do it; let's win it right now,"' Johnson said.
Butte had scored all six of its runs against Trapper starter Terence Glover, an ex-Copper King who threw 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits.
He hit trouble right away when Law walked and stole second and Ron Morris doubled him home as the first two Butte batters of the season. Monty Farris, the Texas Rangers' No. 1 draft choice, followed with an RBI single.
Glover retired the next five, but with two out in the second, a Wardlow single, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch put Butte ahead 3-0, Wardlow scoring from his No. 9 batting position. Butte added three more in the fourth, Wardlow starting things off after two were again out, singling. Law and Morris singled to chase Glover, and Myron Gardner hit Farris with a pitch. A Trey McCoy single brought in what turned out to be the final two Copper King runs.
The Traps got one in the fifth when Tim McKercher walked, rode Ray Karczewski's first-single-of-the-Trapper-season to third and scored the Traps' first run of the season on a balk.
That finally freed the Trappers of Everett Cunningham, who gave them just one hit and one run in five innings.
And so The Streak _ maybe just the streak, for now _ is at one and holding. The Trappers play again at Butte tonight and Wednesday, then bus to Salt Lake City for a Thursday Derks Field home opener against Idaho Falls.