Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Single Card Post - 1977 Topps #492

Our subjects of examination today appear as a quartet on card #492 of the 1977 Topps issue. Everyone on the front of this card looks less than impressed, save for Carlos Lopez. Also, it looks to me that every hat is airbrushed. Three of these four I've never heard of so let's see how they did and if anything new is uncovered:

Tony Armas only made 4 games with the Pirates in 1976 before being shipped off to the A's with five other players for Phil Garner, Tommy Helms, and another player. Armas had six decent years with Oakland appearing in 694 games overall hitting .250, with 111 HRS and 374 RBIs. In the strike-shortened season of 1981, Armas was an All-Star and finished fourth in MVP voting. After the 1982 season, Armas was traded by the A's to Boston in a deal that landed Oakland Carney Lansford in return. With Boston, his best season (and probably best overall in his career) was 1984 where he played in 157 games, hit 43 homers, led the AL in RBIs with 123, and won the Player of the Month award for June. On top of that, he appeared in his second All-Star Game, finished in the top ten of MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger. After this power saw a relapse in both 1985 and 1986, Armas left Boston as a free agent and signed with the Angels before the 1987 season started. He would play three more years before retiring after the 1989 season and a 14-year career.

Steve Kemp was the first overall pick of the January 1976 amateur draft out of USC by the Tigers and was a bright spot on a Tigers squad that finished 4th in the AL East in 1977 with a .257 average, 18 homers, and 88 RBIs. Two years later, Kemp made is only All-Star team hitting .318/.398/.543 with 26 HRs and 105 RBIs and finished in the top twenty of MVP voting. After the 1981 season, he was sent to the White Sox in exchange for Chet Lemon. He only spent one season on the south side and then signed with the Yankees as a free agent. After two decent season, the Yankees traded him and Tim Foli to the Pirates for Dale Berra, Jay Buhner, and Alfonso Pulido. In Pittsburgh, he was a part-time player and was released by the Pirates in the middle of the 1986 season. He resurfaces for a few shots in 1988 with the Rangers but was released again in the middle of the season.

Carlos Lopez only played three years in the majors and all three with different teams. His MLB journey began when the Angels purchased him in 1973. He spent the 1974, 1975, and the majority of the 1976 seasons in the minors. At the end of 1976 he appeared in 9 games with 10 at bats and got exactly zero hits in those 10 at bats. The Mariners selected him in the 1976 expansion draft and he fared a bit better in Seattle and had his best season stat wise. After the season, the Mariners shipped him off to Baltimore along with Tommy Moore for Mike Parrott. After 129 games with the Orioles in 1978 he disappeared from the majors. 1979 was spent in the Orioles minor league system and by 1980 was back in the Mexican League where he played another five seasons.

Gary Woods debuted in 1976 playing in six games with the A's and after the season was selected by the Blue Jays in the expansion draft. With the Jays, he was primarily a backup outfielder, only appearing the 68 games over 1977 and 1978. After the season, he was traded to Houston for a minor leaguer and spent the entire 1979 season playing in the minors with Tuscon (AZ) and Charleston (WV) in the Astros system. The next year, he was back in the majors and again was primarily a backup outfielder, only getting in 73 games over the 1980 and 1981 seasons. After the 1981 season, he was again traded, this time to the Cubs for Jim Tracy. The best season of his career was the 1982 season, his first with the Cubs were he hit .269/.327/.388 but only mustered 4 homers and 30 RBIs. After that season, he had three more years with the Cubs as was out of the majors after the 1985 season.

Here's the back of the card for those who are interested. One thing I always liked about 1977 Topps is the back of the card as it's made to look like, at least in my opinion, a scoreboard you'd see at the local sandlot. Anyway, of the four players mentioned here, there's no doubt that Tony Armas had the best career of all involved. 

1 comment:

  1. Once upon a time... back in the early 80's... this card would have been a cornerstone card in my collection. Armas was part of an amazing Oakland outfield that included Henderson and Dwayne Murphy.