Monday, April 8, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1977 Topps #617 Bobby Darwin

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, April 8, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1977 Topps #617.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bobby Darwin, outfielder, Boston Red Sox.
  • Major League Debut: September 30, 1962.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1976 stats (Red Sox): 43 G, 106 AB, 9 R, 19 H, 5 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .179 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Angels as a Free Agent before the 1962 season. Traded by the Brewers to the Red Sox 06/04/1976. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 6. This is his sixth and final Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Originally a pitcher, Bobby was converted to outfield by Tom Lasorda."
  • Commentary: Bobby Darwin was not an outfielder when he was plying his trade in the minors. In fact, when he made his major league debut with the Angels in 1962, he was the starting pitcher who was not able to get past the 3rd inning of his ballgame. It would also be the last time he'd see action in the majors until 1969. After a seven season hiatus from the bigs, in which he compiled a 31-44 record in the minors, he returned to Los Angeles, this time as a Dodger. In three early season games, all in relief, he would allow 4 earned runs in 3.2 innings of work, giving him an ERA of 9.82. But Tom Lasorda, who at the time was a coach for the Dodgers, saw that Darwin was a decent hitter in the minors and suggested that Darwin try his hand as a fielder instead of a pitcher. The experiment worked. In 1970, playing for the Single-A Bakersfield Dodgers, Darwin hit for a .297 average, with 23 home runs and driving in 70 rbi's to go with an OPS of .926. He even stole 10 bases. He did even better in Spokane the following year, hitting .293, 17 homers, and 55 rbi's against stronger competition in AAA. The Dodgers had seen enough of his early season work and called him up for a mid-June/mid-July stretch of 11 games in which he would hit .250 with a home run and 4 rbi's as a pinch hitter/right fielder. The Twins must have seen something in Darwin as well because they sent Paul Powell to the Dodgers to get him. In his four years with the Twins, Darwin patrolled right field for most of his 490 games. He would hit a decent .257 with 70 home runs and 282 runs driven in. He also led the American League in strikeouts (the bad kind...if he had these numbers as a pitcher, it would have been a good year) with a total of 409 whiffs between 1972-1874. By 1975, he was traded to the Brewers, where he found work as a bench player/pinch hitter. In 1976, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox, and must have made enough of an impact with Topps (or maybe it was because he was shipped to Boston) that they included Darwin in their "Traded" set at the end of the year. With the Red Sox in 1977, he appeared in 4 games, hitting .222 with one run driven in before he was traded to the Cubs on May 28. After a brief run in Wichita, Darwin appeared in 11 games for the northsiders, hitting just .167 before being released by the Cubs before the end of August. It would be the last time he would appear in the majors as a player. After one final run with Tampico in the Mexican League, Bobby Darwin retired as a player. In 1983, he was hired by the Dodgers as a scout, a role that he has held with the organization ever since.
  • Beckett value: $0.12-$0.30.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1986 Topps #45. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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