Tony Armas, born Antonio Rafael Armas Machado (July 2, 1953 in Puerto Píritu, Anzoátegui State, Venezuela), was a popular hitter and one of Major League Baseball's top sluggers of the 1980s. Armas was prone to injuries, and that adversely affected his career. Twice an All-Star, he played 14 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, and California Angels. Over this time he compiled a .252 batting average, 251 home runs, and 815 runs batted in.
Armas started as an outfielder with Pittsburgh briefly in 1976. The following year he was traded to Oakland. In his first three seasons with the Athletics, Armas was on the disabled list many times, but still managed to play 289 games. Armas regain his form in 1980, when he hit .279 with 35 home runs and 109 RBI in 158 games.
Armas was named the American League Player of the Year by The Sporting News in 1981, a season in which he led the American League in home runs and games. In 1982 Armas set a pair of ML records for a right fielder with 11 putouts and 12 total chances against the Toronto Blue Jays. Later that year, he was traded to the Red Sox for Carney Lansford.
In Boston, Armas became a center fielder, sharing the outfield duties along with Jim Rice (LF) and Dwight Evans (RF). However, he was booed by fans for his low batting average (.218). Still, he managed to place second in the AL with 36 home runs, and seventh with 107 RBIs.
Armas peaked again in 1984, batting .268 and leading the AL with 43 HRs, 123 RBIs, 77 extra-base hits, and 339 total bases. He was named to The Sporting News and UPI postseason AL All-Star teams and was Boston's co-MVP; he placed seventh in the AL MVP balloting. The last player before him to lead the league in home runs and runs batted in and not win the MVP was Ted Williams (in 1947).
From 1980 to 1985, Armas hit more homers (187) than any other AL player. His next two seasons were ruined by recurring leg injuries and the rise of Dave Henderson. Armas was released after batting just once in the 1986 World Series. In the following years he became a valuable role player for the Angels, and he retired after the 1989 season.
Currently, Tony Armas is the first base coach for the Leones del Caracas team in the Venezuelan Winter League. His career in Venezuelan pro-baseball was a stellar one. He played with the "Leones del Caracas" and the "Caribes de Oriente" teams. His 97 career home runs are the Venezuelan pro record, and he is fourth in the all-time list of RBI leaders, with 412. He was recently elected by the Comité Contemporáneo to the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame, with a staggering 96% of the vote.
- Twice All-Star (1981, 1984)
- Twice Top 10 MLB Most Valuable Player award|MVP (4, 1981; 7, 1984)
- Twice led league in HRs (1981, 1984)
- Led league in RBI (1984)
- Led league in games played (1981)
- Twice led league in extra-bases hits (1981, 1984)
- Set MLB game-records for a right fielder in putouts and total chances (1982)
- Armas' brother Marcos Armas had a brief stint with A's in 1993, and his son Tony Armas, Jr. made his debut in 1999 as a righthanded starting pitcher for the Montreal Expos.
- In his career Armas went into the disabled list 12 times, missing 302 games.