SALT LAKE BEES
Talking Trappers With Former GM Steve Pearson As Bees Honor Team
SALT LAKE CITY – June 25, 2022 marked the 35th anniversary of the beginning of the Salt Lake Trappers legendary 29-game winning streak in 1987.
Prior to the Salt Lake Bees, formerly Stingers and Buzz, the Salt Lake Trappers called the corner lot on 1300 South West Temple in Salt Lake home.
Let’s celebrate some history!
It’s the 35th anniv of the start of the 1987 Salt Lake Trappers magical 29-game winning streak that streak landed the @PBL1939 franchise in the Baseball Hall of Fame
Tonight the @SaltLakeBees take on that history pic.twitter.com/52jLpw0hI1
— Minor League Promos (@MiLBPromos) June 25, 2022
Built in 1928, Derks Field was the home of the of the Salt Lake Trappers from 1985-1992. Derks Field was demolished in 1993 and replaced by what is now known as Smith’s Ballpark. But when you ask former Trapper’s general manager Steve Pearson, not much has changed.
“It’s still the ballpark, there’s the view. You come and you sit and you look at the mountains and baseball is baseball.”
With Bill Murray as a minority owner and minor league baseball as the product, Pearson and the Trappers knew that the game was secondary. “It was minor league baseball, which anything goes,” Pearson said. “We couldn’t afford an organist so we ended up with old radio carts. Those became our sound effects, so we could use them instead of an organist.”
Simply put, baseball was different with the Trappers.
Joining the Pioneer League in 1985, the Trappers experienced immediate success, winning Pioneer League championships in the first three years of existence. Murray was a regular at Trappers games while celebrities like Bill’s brother Brian, Tom Brokaw and Huey Lewis making appearances at the park.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” Pearson said as the Trappers took shape. “And then I said, ‘Okay, well, this can be pretty good’. Then the third year was the one that really was probably in my mind the most valuable because there was a sentiment with the team that after the streak, and if they didn’t win the championship that summer, it’s all for naught.
Some 🔥 threads for the @SaltLakeBees as they honor the Salt Lake Trappers tonight at Smith’s Ballpark. pic.twitter.com/ccPGROPivg
— Brian Preece (@bpreece24) June 26, 2022
There was a celebrity factor with the Trappers that was unheard of across minor league baseball.
Pearson and the Trappers embraced the advantage, “We’re just gonna ride this thing. Whoever shows up, we’ll deal with it because we never know who’s going to be at the ballpark.”
But it was a record setting 29-game win streak during the 1987 season that is remembered most.
To this day, the Trappers streak is the longest winning streak in professional baseball history, besting the 1916 New York Giants 26-game streak.
As for those concerns about a record-setting win streak falling into obscurity if Salt Lake didn’t win the Pioneer League Championship?
All for naught.
After the streak ended on July 28, more than a month after it began, at the hands of the Billings Mustangs Salt Lake had a 32-4 record.
The Trappers would go on to finish the season with a 49-21 overall record, winning the Pioneer League south division. Salt Lake advanced to the championship where they clinched the franchise’s third straight title, dispatching of the Helena Brewers in a five game series, 3-1.
35 years later, the smile on Pearson’s face tells the story as he reminisces on a memorable time in his life. “You know, you come and you sit and you look at the mountains and baseball is baseball. It’s better at the ballpark.”
The Trappers would go on to play eight seasons in the Pioneer League before moving to Ogden and rebranding as the Raptors under the ownership of Pearson’s second hand man, assistant GM Dave Baggott. Baggott remains the Owner and President of the Raptors.