#CardCorner: 1957 Topps Sandy Amoros
Edmundo Amoros, known to the baseball world as “Sandy”, did what so many Dodgers players had failed to do in five previous Fall Classics against the Yankees: He made a play that turned the tide in Brooklyn’s favor.
For Amoros, it was the unquestioned high point in a career that seemed to be destined for so much more.
Born Jan. 30, 1930, in Matanzas, Cuba, Amoros was the son of a laborer father and mill worker mother. He grew into a 5-foot-7 frame that filled out to about 172 pounds – most of it muscle. He quickly showed ability on the diamond, playing youth baseball for the Cuban Good Neighbor Foundation and later winning the batting title for the Pueblo Nuevo club – based in a Matanzas neighborhood – in 1949.
Amoros played for the New York Cubans of the Negro American League in 1950 then led all batters with a .450 average at the 1952 Caribbean World Series in Panama. During that winter, he caught the eye of future Hall of Famer Billy Herman, who recommended him to the Dodgers.
At age 22 in his first season in the Dodgers organization, he hit .337 with 108 runs scored, 19 homers and 78 RBI for Triple-A St. Paul, then hit .250 in 20 games with Brooklyn after making his big league debut on Aug. 22, 1952. He appeared in Game 6 of the 1952 World Series as a pinch runner and led the Cuban Professional League with a .378 average that winter.
Assigned to Triple-A Montreal to start the 1953 season, Amoros homered for the Royals on Opening Day and went on to win the International League batting title with a .353 average, also leading the loop in runs (128), hits (190), doubles (40) and total bases (321).
In 1954, Amoros made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster after hitting .405 in Spring Training but played sporadically throughout April and May before finally being sent back to Montreal in May. He hit .352 in 68 games, then returned to Brooklyn in July where he was installed as the team’s everyday left fielder. Over the final two-and-a-half months of the season, Amoros hit .295 with 41 runs scored, nine homers and 31 RBI in 64 games.
Then in 1955, Amoros won the starting left fielder’s job in Brooklyn and came out of the gate on fire, hitting .341 as late as June 3. A second-half slump, however, dropped his final average to .247 – his lowest mark since the seventh game of the year. In 119 games, Amoros recorded 96 hits to go with 59 runs scored and 51 RBI.
His destiny, however, was just around the corner.
After not playing in the first two games of the World Series at Yankee Stadium due to the fact that New York started lefties Whitey Ford and Tommy Byrne, the left-handed hitting Amoros started Games 3 through 6 in left field, batting eighth each time. His two-run homer in the second inning of Game 5 gave Brooklyn a lead it would not relinquish, and he was hitting .333 with three RBI and three runs scored through six games.
After his week on the Dodgers, Amoros went to work for Catholic Charities in Brooklyn. But a series of personal setbacks left him virtually bankrupt – and he eventually lost a leg due to diabetes.
“Nothing is eternal,” Amoros told El Nuevo Herald in 1988, “and others have gone through worse things.”
Amoros passed away on June 27, 1992, at the age of 62 after having moved to Miami to live with his daughter. Over parts of seven big league seasons, Amoros hit .255 with 43 homers, 180 RBI and 215 runs scored in 517 games.
But for one day in New York City in 1955, Sandy Amoros was the king of the baseball world.
“The history of the Dodgers cannot be written without mentioning the name Sandy Amoros,” Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges told the Miami Herald. “He was the World Series hero.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum