Trappers Vs. Angels

The largest baseball game ever played in Edmonton featured two Hall-of-Famers and a diamond shaped like an oblong.

Andy Grabia
3 min readMar 19, 2024
An advertisment for the big game, posted in the Edmonton Sun on May 15, 1983.

On May 16, 1983, the California Angels played an exhibition game against the Edmonton Trappers, their Triple A affiliate, at Commonwealth Stadium. The Trappers won the game 5–3, despite an Angels lineup featuring Ellis Valentine, Bob Boone, and two future Hall-of-Famers, Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson. The Angels were coming off a season where they had won the American League West title, ultimately losing to the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League Championship Series.

Jackson, joking before the game about the ridiculously short right field fence at Commonwealth (260 feet), told reporters, “I’m going to hit one all the way to Spruce’s Grove.” Mr. October didn’t hit one to Spruce Grove, or even Spruce Avenue. Instead he went one for three with a strikeout, a ground out, and a double. Jackson had finished the 1982 season leading the American League in homeruns (39) and walks (156). He also drove in 101 runs, with a slash line of .275/.375/.532. At age 36 and in his 17th year in the majors, 1983 was the beginning of the end for Jackson, as his numbers finally began to decline. The charismatic hitter was still the number one attraction for fans attending the game, however, many of whom had come from across western Canada to see him play.

Though Jackson did not hit one out of the park, there was plenty of excitement in the game. Five homeruns were hit, including an inside-the-park homerun by Juan Beniquez. This unusual feat was likely due to the absolutely bizarre dimensions of the field, normally used for football, soccer, and track and field. In addition to the short field in right, media stories indicate a power alley of 460 feet to left centre. A picture from the May 16 edition of the Edmonton Sun gives you some idea of how the stadium looked, as well as a nice shot of team president Mel Kowalchuk’s moustache.

The May 16 edition of the Edmonton Sun includes a photo of a baseball diamond shaped like an oblong.

Other highlights include Trappers pitching coach Aurelio Monteagudo pitching one inning for the Angels. The 41-year-old had retired only the year before after playing in the Mexican League. Monteagudo gave up a homerun to Dick Schofield in the 8th, and joked after the game that he didn’t put enough ‘lemon cream’ on his fastball.

Attendance for the game was 24,830, making it the largest baseball game ever played in Edmonton. It’s also the only baseball game to ever be played at Commonwealth Stadium. 1983 was the Trappers’ first season as the Angels Triple A affiliate, a relationship that lasted until 1993, when they became the affiliate for the Florida Marlins. The Trappers again became an affiliate for the Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels) for the 1999–2000 season.

The program for the game included the usual items, such as lineups for each team and a scorecard. It also contained some interesting ground rules for the playing of the game.

Ground Rules

Owing to the unique character or today’s Trapper-Angel contest a few special ground rules have been devised for the occasion.

1) Any batted ball striking the public address speaker suspended above the centre of the Stadium will be ruled a single.

2) The game will be nine innings or two and a half hours, which ever comes first. This will allow the Angels to fly to Seattle this evening in preparation for their game tomorrow against the Seattle Mariners.

3) The Angels will be able to play with an offensive lineup and a defensive lineup. This will enable fans to see such stars as Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew come to the plate more often that is common in an exhibition game.

Originally published on May 16, 2015.