NUMBER 3: Tony Armas
Tony Armas was a slugger in every sense of the word. During his prime in the early-80s, he was one of the best power hitters in the American League.
The Venezuelan-born Armas came to the A’s in 1977 as part of a multi-player deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that saw the disbanding A’s depart with second baseman Phil Garner, but also brought over outfielder Mitchell Page and pitcher Rick Langford. Though Armas was the Opening Day center fielder that year, injuries in 1977 and 1978 only saw him playing in half the team’s games.
In 1980, under Manager Billy Martin, Armas became the everyday right fielder, complementing what many saw as “The Best Outfield in Baseball” with Rickey Henderson in left field and Dwayne Murphy in right. Playing his first full season not on the DL, Armas batted .279 with 35 home runs and 109 runs batted in in 158 games.
In the strike-shortened season of 1981, Armas was an All-Star and led the AL in home runs with 22. He was also named the American League Player of the Year by The Sporting News. With Armas, the 1981 Oakland A’s finished the regular, strike-shortened season with the best overall record in the American League by winning 64 games and losing just 45, with a winning percentage of .587. Though they defeated the Royals in the first-ever ALDS where Armas went 6-11 at the plate (.545), Oakland was swept by the Yankees in the ALCS.
In 1982, Armas hit only .232, but belted 28 HRs with 89 RBI. The A’s finished the 1982 season with a disappointing record of 68-94, and finished a distant 5th place in the AL West. At the end of the season, with the Red Sox high on a Minor League third baseman they foresaw as their 1983 starter, an unknown named Wade Boggs, Armas was dealt for the Red Sox starting third baseman who was a .300 hitter – Carney Lansford.
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