The Tim Rigsbys of the world are what make the Salt Lake Trappers a unique treat for pro baseball: a body shop for dented careers.

Rigsby sat out of sports for a year after high school, then went to that North Carolina powerhouse, Warren Wilson College, to play basketball. "I didn't even know they had a baseball team," says Rigsby, the Trappers' starting shortstop as they open their eighth Pioneer League season tonight in Butte."What the heck," Rigsby thought to himself when the basketball season ended and he found there was a Warren Wilson College baseball team. "I might as well play baseball," he said.

"I did well and got a call from Clemson."

At Clemson, Rigsby became an all-Atlantic Coast Conference shortstop and got drafted on the 13th round by the independent Class A Miami Miracle in 1990. The next year, his contract was picked up by Cleveland, and he played 85 games hitting .202 for its Class A Kinston club. "I struggled early," Rigsby says, explaining he's a slow starter, and pressing at hitting hurt his fielding.

Rigsby went to 1992 training camp with Kinston, but with a week left, he was told to pack and go home. "I don't think they had any idea of keeping me after the year I had last year," he says, guessing he was just "insurance" for spring training this year.

"If you get released that late, it's tough to hook on," says Rigsby, so he signed up for Clemson classes.

Trapper player personnel director Van Schley called Rigsby a week after he'd been released and made a tentative offer, "but at that point, I was mad," says Rigsby, who was noncommital.

Rigsby was to start class at Clemson on a Thursday morning, but Schley called again Wednesday night.

"I figured it must be some sign that I've got to come," said Rigsby, now glad that he joined the Trappers for one more shot at pro ball and mindful of next season's major-league expansion.

"I'm really impressed with the city and the good athletes. They're all in the same situation I am," says Rigsby. "You never know."

After working in the offseason on his hitting and aggressiveness, determined not to start slow again, he's full of confidence again. "If I get my pitch, I haven't missed at all, and I've been hitting pretty hard," he says of his Trapper workouts.

"If I'm still healthy," declares Rigsby, "I will get to the big leagues. No question I have enough ability. It's just a matter of timing and luck."

That's the Trapper spirit.

*****

(Additional information)

1992 Trappers roster

Player posht.college pro org. most recent stats

George Baker C 6-0 George WashingtonMarlins Frederick, 49 AB, .204

Bobby Benjamin Of 6-1 Nebraska Brewers Beloit, 338 AB, .260

John Calarco 3b 6-2 Northeastern Ill.none college, 160 AB, .332

Art Canestro Lhp6-3 New York Tech Yankees Ft. Lauderdale, 0-0, 3.98

Tim Clark Of 6-3 LSU Brewers Stockton, 424 AB, .274

Todd DeVaughan Rhp6-5 Seminole JC Marlins G. Coast Rangers,2-1, 1.57

Ken Folger If 5-9 Auburn-Montgomerynone college, 225 AB, .480

John Gilligan Rhp5-1 S. Mississippi Trappers SLC, 6-1, 1.71

Jim Guidi Rhp6-1 Lewis Trappers SLC, 2-2, 3.65

Jon Harden Lhp5-1 Mississippi Statenone college, 6-3, 2.96

Andrew Jackson Of 5-1 Mesa none college, 160 AB, .430

Les Jennette 1b 6-2 Virginia Tech none college, 220 AB, .390

Shannon Jones Rhp6-4 SE Louisiana Cubs Winston-Salem, 8-6, 3.16

Rich Lacursi Rhp6-3 Sacred Heart none college, 13-1, 2.30

George Kerfut Rhp6-1 Pace Miracle Miami, 4-6, 2.30

Eddie Ortega 2B 5-1 none Trappers SLC, 123 AB, .382

Barry ParisottoRhp6-2 Gonzaga Marlins Reno, 7-3, 3.91

Rich Palumbo Of 5-1 Nova none College, 192 AB, .425

Cecil PettifordRhp6-3 Jackson State Indians Kinston, 8-2, 3.16

Tim Rigsby SS 6-2 Clemson Indians Kinston, 263 AB, .202

Todd Rosenthal Of 6-0 Connecticut none college, 184 AB, .331

Bobby Ryan Lhp6-0 Cal Poly-SLO Expos Rockford, 5-7, 4.05

Chris Schultea Rhp5-9 McNeese State Trappers SLC, 2-2, 3.64

Randy Snyder C 6-2 Washington State Brewers Stockton, 223 AB, .256

Willie Smith C 6-0 Sacramento City Trappers SLC, 36 AB, .222

John Thoden Rhp5-1 UNC-Chapel Hill Expos W. Palm Beach, 5-1, .222

Billy Vosik If 6-1 Nebraska Indians Watertown, 192 AB, .260

Pookie Wilson Of 5-1 Auburn-Montgomerynone 253 AB, .420

Manager - Nick Belmonte, coach - Dan Shwam, pitching coach - Brian Peterson

1992 Salt Lake Trappers schedule

JUNE

17-at Butte, 18-at Butte, 19-at Butte, 20-IDAHO FALLS, 21-IDAHO FALLS, 22-IDAHO FALLS, 23-HELENA, 24-HELENA, 25-HELENA, 26-HELENA, 27-at Idaho Falls, 28-at Idaho Falls, 29-at Idaho Falls, 30-at Helena.

JULY

1-at Helena, 2-IDAHO FALLS, 3-IDAHO FALLS, 4-at Idaho Falls, 5-at Idaho Falls, 7-BILLINGS, 8-BILLINGS, 9-BILLINGS, 10-GREAT FALLS, 11-GREAT FALLS, 12-GREAT FALLS, 13-GREAT FALLS, 15-at Billings, 16-at Billings, 17-at Billings, 18-at Billings, 19-at Great Falls, 20-at Great Falls, 21-at Great Falls, 23-IDAHO FALLS, 24-IDAHO FALLS, 25-at Helena, 26-at Helena, 27-at Helena, 28-at Butte, 29-at Butte, 30-BUTTE, 31-BUTTE.

AUGUST

1-BUTTE, 2-BUTTE, 3-at Idaho Falls, 4-at Idaho Falls, 5-LETHBRIDGE, 6-LETHBRIDGE, 7-LETHBRIDGE, 8-LETHBRIDGE, 9-MEDICINE HAT, 10-MEDICINE HAT, 11-MEDICINE HAT, 13-at Lethbridge, 14-at Lethbridge, 15-at Lethbridge, 16-at Medicine Hat, 17-at Medicine Hat, 18-at Medicine Hat, 19-at Medicine Hat, 21-HELENA, 22-HELENA, 23-HELENA, 24-at Helena, 25-at Helena, 26-at Butte, 27-at Butte, 28-BUTTE, 29-BUTTE, 30-BUTTE, 31-at Idaho Falls.

SEPTEMBER

1-at Idaho Falls, 2-at Idaho Falls, 3-IDAHO FALLS, 4-IDAHO FALLS, 5-IDAHO FALLS.

Home games in caps, starting time 7 p.m. except Sundays (1:30 p.m.) Doubleheaders 11/2 hours earlier.