Sometimes, even being in the right place at the right time can lead you somewhere you’re not sure you want to be.

Just ask Bruce Robbins.

Selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 14th round of the 1977 MLB Draft out of high school, Robbins found himself in an organization in the midst of a big youth movement and just a year removed from Bird Mania, courtesy of Mark Fidrych.

The young lefthander (Robbins, that is) spent most of the next three summers in the minors — Rookie ball, Single-A, Double-A — but when Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson took the reins in Motown in June 1979, things were about to take a turn up (turnip?).

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Robbins got the call to the Big Leagues the next month and made his MLB debut on July 28, more than a month shy of his 20th birthday.

In ten appearances, the teenager made eight starts and fashioned a 3-3 record, supported by a not-terrible 3.91 ERA.

That was enough to gain Topps’ respect, or at least attention, and Robbins lined up on the right-hand side of the Tigers Future Stars card (#666 — cue Halloween music), backing up Mike Chris and Al Greene, who could often be heard imploring of team brass — “Let’se Staye Togethere.”

But I digress-e.

Because, while that card was finding its way into collectors’ sweaty little hands, Robbins was at Evansville in 1980, getting his first taste of Triple-A seasoning.

He did make it back to the Majors in June, and logged appearances in July, August, and September, as well.

The results weren’t all that pretty, though — 4-2, but with a 6.62 ERA (at least he avoided another 666).

That got Robbins sent back to the farm in 1981 … all the way back to Double-A Birmingham, in fact.

But by that point, there were two new card manufacturers, and they were all vying for hobby supremacy. And, with the burgeoning young talent in Detroit, why not take a flyer on the young dude who had rocketed to the Majors after a lowish draft slot?

And so, they all did.

Robbins got another Topps card, at #79 (affiliate link):

And he got a 1981 Fleer card, at #477 (affiliate link):

And, finally, he got a 1981 Donruss card, at #129 (affiliate link):

What he didn’t get, though, ever, was another shot at the big leagues.

After back surgery in 1981 and a slow start in 1982 that led him to thoughts of retirement, Robbins gave it one last go at Birmingham in 1983.

A 4-6 record and 5.12 ERA in 16 starts with his 24th birthday just ahead was apparently enough to convince the young man his future lay elsewhere.

Robbins walked away from the game with a Major League record that read 7 wins, 5 losses, 5.34 ERA, 1.577 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR … and four gorgeous baseball cards that any kid would be proud to own.