Cooperstown Chronicles – Tony Oliva

May 4, 2008

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

I’ve decided to profile Tony Oliva.  Here are my findings.

The Numbers
1676 Games
6301 At Bats
.304 Batting Average
870 Runs
1917 Hits
329 Doubles
48 Triples 
220 Home Runs
947 RBI
448 Walks 
86 Stolen Bases
131 Intentional Walks

Playoffs:  13 Games, 16 for 51 (.314), 7 Runs, 5 Doubles, 3 HRs, 5 RBI, 2 Walks, .588 Slugging %, 1 Stolen Base

Awards
1964 Rookie of the Year
1966 Gold Glove
8 All-Star Appearances
MVP Votes in 8 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average - Eight Times (Batting Crowns in 1964, 1965 & 1971)
On-Base % – Three Times
Slugging % – Seven Times (Led league in 1971)
OPS -Six Times
Games – Twice
At-Bats – Four Times
Runs – Five Times (Led league in 1964)
Hits - Eight Times (Led league in ’64, ’65, ’66, ’69 & ’70
Total Bases – Seven Times (Led league in 1964)
Doubles – Seven Times (Led league in 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970)
Triples – Four Times
Home Runs – Once
RBI – Six Times
Extra-Base Hits – Seven Times (Led league in 1964)
Hit By Pitch – Five Times (Led league in 1975)
Intentional Walks – Nine Times (Led league in 1968)
Stolen Bases – Once

Tony Oliva had one of the finest eight-year stretches to open a career that baseball has ever witnessed.  Three Batting Titles and five seasons leading the league in hits.  He wasn’t a slugger, which loses some appeal for some fans and voters, but he was consistenly one of the tops in Total Bases and RBI.  His Black InkGray Ink, and HOF Monitor ratings are all above what you typically need to be enshrined so I don’t understand what the holdup is.  I suppose it would have been nice if he at least reached the 2000 hit plateau, but injuries took their toll on Tony.  He has stayed involved in the game as a batting coach, a minor league coach, and a hitting instructor.  If I had a vote, I would say Tony-O belongs in Cooperstown.

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren
Roger Maris
Lance Parrish
Mo Vaughn
Mark Grace
Dennis Martinez
Chuck Finley
Fred McGriff
Wes Parker
Steve Finley
Orlando Cepeda*
Albert Belle
Willie Randolph
Graig Nettles
Luis Gonzalez
Lefty O’Doul
Rocky Colavito
Boog Powell
Jerry Koosman
Mike Cuellar
Edgar Martinez
Brooks Robinson*
Roberto Alomar
Dave Stieb
John Franco
Maury Wills
Sherry Magee
Phil Rizzuto*
Orel Hershiser
Frank Viola
David Cone
Dwight Gooden
Tim Raines
Bernie Williams
Barry Larkin
Pete Browning
Bobby Veach 

* signifies actual Hall of Famers

Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |
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18 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    May 4th, 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    My first reaction to him is Yes, I remember him as a kid playing for some very good Twin teams, So I wondered why he is not in.
    And after the case you made I still cannot figure out why he is not in.
    He was a hitting machine for the Twins. So Yes he Should Be In The HALL OF FAME!!

  2. Ryan Lester
    May 4th, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    Totally agree Larry.

  3. Big Denny
    May 4th, 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    I agree Oliva deserves to be in.

  4. Ryan Lester
    May 4th, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    BD – Yep.

  5. Francis Amar
    June 25th, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    it is mystifying why guys like tony oliva are not in the hall of fame.

  6. LestersLegends
    June 25th, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Totally agree. Francis.

  7. BraystreetLad
    November 27th, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    Had Tony O. not suffered various knee injuries which curtailed his career,he’d have been considered a first-ballot Hall Of Famer.As is,I
    think his accomplishments in a relatively short career merit a plaque in
    Cooperstown.

  8. LestersLegends
    November 27th, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    Agree Bray

  9. Veterans Committee elect Joe Gordon to the HOF | Fantasy Sports Blog
    December 8th, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    [...] they were just voting on his playing career), Sherry Magee, Ron Santo, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and Al Oliver were worthy of election.  I am particularly upset with the Santo exclusion.  [...]

  10. Cooperstown Chronicles - Jesse Haines | 1800blogger
    May 7th, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    [...] Paul Molitor* Jack Morris Tony Mullane Dale Murphy Graig Nettles Hal Newhouser* Lefty O’Doul Tony Oliva Al Oliver Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso Dave Parker Wes Parker Lance Parrish Vada Pinson Boog [...]

  11. Cooperstown Chronicles - Stan Coveleski :: Elites TV
    May 13th, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    [...] Paul Molitor* Jack Morris Tony Mullane Dale Murphy Graig Nettles Hal Newhouser* Lefty O’Doul Tony Oliva Al Oliver Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso Dave Parker Wes Parker Lance Parrish Vada Pinson Boog [...]

  12. Rafael Iglesias
    May 14th, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m so glad so many people think Tony Oliva deserves to be in the HOF. I have checked Oliva’s stats against those of other inductees and they’re much better than many’s. Add to Oliva’s case those of other Cuban-born players like Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant. Don’t baseball writers check the players’ stats or what?

  13. LestersLegends
    May 14th, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    Maybe not

  14. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | 1800blogger
    May 20th, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    [...] Paul Molitor* Jack Morris Tony Mullane Dale Murphy Graig Nettles Hal Newhouser* Lefty O’Doul Tony Oliva Al Oliver Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso Dave Parker Wes Parker Lance Parrish Vada Pinson Boog [...]

  15. Cooperstown Chronicles - Kiki Cuyler | 1800blogger
    May 28th, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    [...] Paul Molitor* Jack Morris Tony Mullane Dale Murphy Graig Nettles Hal Newhouser* Lefty O’Doul Tony Oliva Al Oliver Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso Dave Parker Wes Parker Lance Parrish Vada Pinson Boog [...]

  16. Baltbird
    August 21st, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    I grew up as an A.L. fan and I have fond memories of watching Tony bat. What a hitter! A Clemente type player decent power sprayed the ball around and played all out. Unfortunately his career was cut short by injury. Of course so was Koufax’ and he is in the Hall, but Koufax was completely dominant for a short time, the best pitcher I ever saw. Was Oliva that good during his good years? No, but he was very very good. Is he a HOFer? It’s too close to call. I wouldn’t think it’s wrong if he got in and I don’t think it’s a huge error if he doesn’t. It’s a very borderline case.

  17. LestersLegends
    August 21st, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Thanks for adding. Some of these guys are very close indeed. It’s tough to pick which ones get in and which ones don’t.

  18. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I like Oliva and wouldn’t be opposed to him in..but there are better players not in..
    A 131 OPS+ over ~6900 is good, not overwhelming. Richard Allen by far deserves to be in the Hall five times before Oliva sniffs Cooperstown. Their lines:
    Allen- 156 OPS+, 7314 PA, 351 HR, .292/.378/.534/.912/156, 1848 H, 1119 RBI, 1099 R
    Oliva- 131 OPS+, 6879 PA, 220 HR, .304/.353/.476/.829/131, 1917 H, 947 RBI, 870 R
    Do you see where I’m going?
    Now many say Oliva had a great opening to his career. So did Allen.
    Many say Oliva had peak value. Allen had BETTER peak value.
    To be fair, let’s compare Allen and Oliva’s 1964-1971 run.

    Allen- .297/.382/.544/.926/160 over 4847 PA with 234 HR and 1249 H.
    Oliva- .313/.360/.507/.867/140 over 5069 PA with 177 HR and 1455 H.
    That proves Allen WAS better from ’64-’71. What about peak value? Using seasons with at least 400 PA, here’s how their OPS+’s stack up in their best years
    ALLEN OLIVA
    199 154
    181 150
    174 144
    165 141
    164 137
    162 136
    160 133
    151 130
    145 109
    145 109
    Dick Allen WAS A BETTER HITTER THAN OLIVA! Allen deserves to be in the Hall miles and miles before Oliva. Oliva is borderline. Allen is a slam dunk Hall of Famer. Does Oliva have three OPS+ titles? Allen does.
    Allen had SEVEN, count ‘em 7, years with a higher OPS+ than Oliva’s best OPS+ level. Allen’s 8th best was better than Oliva’s second best, and Allen’s 9th and 10th best were both better than Oliva’s # 3.

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