Marcos Armas – 1994 Pinnacle

February 11, 2012

The Swing …

Tony Armas had a very nice career, despite his horrific strike zone judgement. Whacking 30+ and 40+ home runs in the 80’s will keep you around for a while.

Marcos had the same strike zone issues as Tony. As a 23-year old taking a cup of coffee in the bigs, he showed some power like big brother Tony, slugging .355 even though he hit just .194.

But, he whiffed 12 times in 31 at bats and walked just once – just like big brother would.

The problem is that Marcos just didn’t have that same power in the minors to offset the strike zone issues. He never cracked the 20 home run barrier, and while he hit .290 in 1993 that was in the PCL.

Ah, well, but Marcos’ Pinnacle card showed his home run swing. His one home run swing. At least that’s what I’m sticking with. Marcos hit his lone home run in the 9th off of George “The Animal” Tsamis as the A’s were trying to come back after Joe Boever blew a 9th inning lead. This card shows Armas on a swing follow through against Minnesota. Sure, yeah. I’ll go with it.

Hey, you say, why was Joe Boever saving a game for the A’s in 1993? Where was the Eck?

Well…It was a wild one.

The A’s were up 8-5 in the top of the 8th. Kelly Downs pitched four excellent innings of relief after Ron Darling struggled in the 2nd, and the A’s teed off on Kevin Tapani and Mike Trombley.

Goose Gossage (yeah, he was still around) had already thrown an efficient inning with the three run lead and had one out when Chuck Knoblauch hit a double to deep right. After Dave McCarty popped out (figures, Twins fans say) Kirby Puckett singled in Knoblauch. LaRussa went to Rick Honeycutt, but Kent Hrbek hit a seeing eye single and Puckett went to third.

Eck had to come in, and it wasn’t pretty. Brian Harper singled and Gene Larkin doubled. Three more runs scored and the Twins were up 9-8. Blown save, Dennis Eckersley.

Carl Willis was toeing the slab in the bottom of the 8th. After an out Rickey! doubled. Mark Guthrie got an out, but then threw a wild pitch and then Tom Kelly decided to walk Ruben Sierra.

Kelly then turned to his closer, Rick Aguilera. Oh, it was ugly. Sierra steals second, and Lance Blankenship walked to load the bases. That’s was Blankenship’s entire offensive arsenal, the walk. Then Aguilera walked Terry Steinbach on a 3-2 pitch to drive home Rickey! Aggie then walked Troy “Scumbag Of The World” Neel on a 3-1 pitch and the A’s had the lead again. Kelly then brought in Tsamis to quell the damage and he got Kevin Seitzer looking to end the inning.

Boever then demonstrated not only why he wasn’t called into the game in the 8th and why LaRussa went to Eckersley.

Double by Pagliarulo, triple by Pat Meares, walk to Knoblauch, error Seitzer at third (who must be wanting to hide somewhere after whiffing looking with the bases loaded) and a single by Puckett chases Boever and gives the Twins as 12-10 lead. Mike Mohler comes in and Hrbek lays down a sac bunt.

You read that right. Kent Hrbek. But you must remember this was Tom Kelly, and near the end of Hrbek’s career. He had three sac bunts in 1993. I just never thought I’d read SAC – Hrbek in a box score.

Mohler walks Brian Harper intentionally and then gets Larkin to hit into a DP, and the Twins held a 12-10 lead.

Because Kelly burned through his pen the rookie Tsamis had to finish this one himself. Armas led off the 9th with his blast to bring the A’s within one. Mike Bordick singled, but Rickey! hit into a 1-6-3 DP! That hurt, because Brent Gates singled after that. Tsamis coaxed a pop fly out of Sierra to close out the win.

So what I’m saying is that this card pictures that home run. I can’t prove it, and I don’t have any evidence of it. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Not only is it a momento for Marcos Armas, it’s a momento of a game where two ace closers had to come into the 8th and blew leads, and the end of the game was left to Mike Mohler and George Tsamis.

Isn’t baseball fun???

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