You don’t hear much about Larry Demery these days … in fact, most younger baseball fans probably don’t even know who he is.

But Demery was a key part of some outstanding Pittsburgh Pirates teams who won two division titles and 368 games during his four year run with the team from 1974 through 1977.

And Demery was no bit player during those years, either, serving as a solid righty swingman who logged 46 starts among his 139 appearances, also finishing 38 games and saving seven.

Find 1978 Topps Larry Demery on eBay (affiliate link)

Find 1978 Topps Larry Demery on Amazon (affiliate link)

During that span, Demery put up a decent 3.72 ERA, though things got a bit ugly for him in the 1974 and 1975 NLCS (24.00 ERA in three innings over three appearances).

Still, the fact remains that the Bucs likely wouldn’t have won as many games without young Demery in the fold.

Unfortunately for Demery, his 5.08 ERA in 1977 landed him back in Triple-A (and even Double-A) in 1978 (for the first time since 1974). Things got even stickier down on the farm, and Demery slide to Single-A while his former teammates were pulling off their “We Are Family” theatrics on the way to a World Series title in 1979.

He pitched just two games in the Atlanta Braves‘ system in 1980 and then was done in the pros at age 27.

But during his time in Pittsburgh, Demery picked up some pretty sweet cardboard credentials, including cards in the 1975, 1976, and 1977 Topps sets.

The icing on top of the hobby cake, though, and a career-capper to boot, is Demery’s 1978 Topps card.

That beauty shows him in Pittsburgh home pinstripes with that glorious old Pirates pillbox hat, posed in his “set” stance in front of a lush green Spring Training field and some teammate sprinting by waayyyyyy out in the outfield.

It’s a lost gem of a card for an often forgotten gem of a player who was right there in the thick of things as a young Pirates team was coming of age.

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