by David Tesitor
TRINIDAD — The Trinidad Triggers had a great 2012 season, bringing pro baseball to southern Colorado for the first time. It was also the year Charley Short from the Roswell Invaders signed with the New York Yankees, becoming the first Pecos Leaguer to make the pros. By then, many players were being traded to Frontier League or American Association teams.
Gone were the Ruidoso Osos and Carlsbad Bats, and several players were signed with new affiliated teams as the league footprint expanded massively with the addition of Santa Fe and Trinidad.
In 2013, the Pecos League expanded to eight teams, with all teams in the Northern Division within a three hours drive: the Trinidad Triggers, the Raton Osos, the Santa Fe Fuego, and the Las Vegas Train Robbers, formerly the Las Cruces Vaqueros. El Paso moved from the Pecos league to the American Association League. The Southern Division retained the Roswell Invaders, Alpine Cowboys, and the White Sands Pupfish. The Taos Blizzard, having no home field, was added as a travel-only team. The league ended for good the experiment of using the designated hitter rule.
In 2014, the Pecos League retained all eight teams from 2013 and attempted expansion into Arizona, adding teams in Bisbee and the Douglas. Douglas turned out to be the worst market in the league and was disbanded after the season ended. Bisbee didn’t do much better and is also gone. On the positive side, Jon Edwards became the first player in Pecos League history to play in Major League Baseball as he made his debut with the Rangers.
In 2015, the Pecos League turned the corner, strictly enforcing a 22-man paid roster and implementing a 25 and under age limit. The Raton Osos who were 1-24 against the hated Triggers in two years, disbanded immediately when the 2015 season ended as the City of Raton no longer wanted a losing team in Trinidad’s backyard. Raton was the best market the Pecos League had but left anyway. Some of those fans, still thirsting for baseball now make the twenty minute trip over the pass to support the Triggers.
In the southern division, the Taos Blizzard left to become the Garden City Wind, paving the way into the Kansas market. The belief was the economic climate in Taos could never support a team the way Trinidad or Santa Fe did. The move into the Garden State also marked the first time in 30 years players were transported by train to games. Garden City is the only team in league history to play on an artificial turf infield. They also play at the lowest elevation in league history, making hitting it out of the ballpark less frequent.
The 2015 Southern Division playoff race went down to the last day with the Roswell Invaders beating Alpine in the first round, then taking Santa Fe in the finals to win their third league championship in five years.
As the Pecos League proves able to withstand the test of time, the Trinidad Triggers are in good position to remain a part of baseball history.
Having developed a strong fan base and economic support from the community, the Triggers’ current lineup could be a strong force to represent the Northern Division in the league championship later this summer.