If Darryl Cias has a motto, it just might be … “save the best for last.”
See, Cias started his professional baseball journey when the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the sixth round of the 1975 June draft.
He spent the rest of that season in Rookie ball, then moved up to Class A for part of 1976. After hitting a combined .171 in that Bicentennial summer, Cias found himself on the outs, released by the O’s in November.
The Red Sox picked him up later that month but cut ties the next April before Cias could make a single appearance at any level.
And so, as he prepared to turn 20, Cias was done in baseball.
Except he wasn’t, because he landed with the independent Salem Senators in the Northwest League, and that’s where he was when the Oakland A’s came calling in February 1979.
The A’s “bought” Cias from the Senators, and he started his climb, finally. A long, slow climb, but one that saw him click off A, AA, and AAA on his resume, about one level every couple of years.
Finally, on April 27, 1983, just four days after his 26th birthday, the young(ish) catcher got the call to the Bigs. Cias started his first two contests, then spent most of the season waiting to replace starter Bob Kearney in the late innings.
By September 24, the rookie receiver had made his way into 18 games, going 6-for-18 with a double and an RBI … but no runs of his own.
That Saturday afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays came to the Coliseum, and the out-of-towners led 1-0 into the late innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Wayne Gross pinch hit for Kearney, but the A’s came up empty.
Cias singled to start things off for the A’s in their extra frame, and Tony Phillips laid down a sacrifice bunt against Tom Clancy to advance the rook to second.
Finally, Rickey Henderson smacked a single into center field, and Cias raced home with the winning run.
The victory left the A’s at 71-84 and still 23 games out of first with seven to play.
They were done.
And so, too, was Darryl Cias because, as it turned out, he’d never make another appearance in the Major Leagues.
But the man had scored in Big Leagues, at last.
And the next year, Topps graced him with not only a rookie card, but also a career-capper, all on one glorious hunk of cardboard.
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