Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1993 Topps Traded #80T Jack Armstrong

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, November 13, 2012:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1993 Topps Traded #80T.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jack Armstrong, pitcher, Florida Marlins.
  • Major League Debut: June 21, 1988.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1992 stats (Indians): 35 G, 166.2 IP, 6-15, 100 R, 86 ER, 114 SO, 67 BB, 23 GS, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.64 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Reds, #1st, June 1987. Selected by the Marlins in the Expansion Draft #39th, 11/17/1992. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 10. This is his eighth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Jack was the starting pitcher for NL in the 1990 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field and pitched 2 scoreless Innings.  His 1st major league Shutout was 4-hit, 4-0 outing vs. Cardinals, May 19, 1990."
  • Commentary: When the 1993 Topps Traded set came out, I was initially disappointed.  Why?  Because every other traded prior to this one sorted all the players in alphabetical order.  So if all went according to tradition, Armstrong's card would be #4T, not #80T.  So what did my rebellious 17-year old mind do when it was time to put this set in it's binder (before I ran out of room and consolidated all my sets, and before I went insert/master set crazy, my regular Topps set would be in a 3-inch binder and my traded set in a 1-inch binder)?  I sorted all the cards by player alphabetically and then put them in the binder.  Looking back, I have to wonder what the heck I was thinking?  I did this with the 1994 AND 1995 Topps sets as well.  After I got married, and reality hit, I went back to these three sets and re-sorted them by card number.  Jack Armstrong is one of those players who leave your head scratching.  At the All-Star Break in 1990, Armstrong was a dominant 11-3 in 17 starts (the Reds went 13-4 in those games), struck out 78 batters and had an ERA of 2.28 in 114.2 innings pitched.  It was no wonder why Roger Craig tabbed him to start the ASG in Chicago.  But after his two scoreless innings at the ASG, Jack went 1-6, couldn't find the strike zone (32 K's), and his ERA ballooned to 5.96 in the second half.  He was then removed from the starting rotation during the Reds' stretch run and finished the season in the Reds' bullpen.  By the end of 1991, he was traded across the state to the Indians.  A lackluster 6-15 record gave the Tribe enough reason to leave him available for the 1992 Expansion Draft, where he was selected by the new Florida Marlins as the 39th player selected overall.  So, how did the new Fish pitcher do?  As expected, the expansion Marlins did not fare well during the season.  For his contributions, Armstrong went 9-17 with an ERA of 4.49 and 119 K's.  Which in the grand scheme of things, wasn't that bad a year under the circumstances.  But the fall from grace continued, and after a 2-game stint with the Rangers in 1994, he no longer played in the major leagues.  It was a sad fall from grace for a player who just four years prior, was the toast of the town in Cincinnati and a key contributor as to why the Reds ran away with the NL West division on their way to the 1990 World Series. 
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be:  1994 Topps Traded #31T. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1994 here on the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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