Rod Carew is one of 66 living baseball Hall of Famers. He, among others, wants former Minnesota Twins teammate Tony Oliva to soon join this honored group.
“Tony Oliva deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” proclaimed Carew. He told the MSR during the recent MLB All-Star series of events that he plans to lobby for his teammate later this year as a member of the Golden Era Committee. “I’m going to push for it in the next round of voting.”
A three-time batting champion and five-time league leader in hits during the era of the pitcher in the 1960s; the only player in American League history to win batting titles in his first two pro seasons; a .304
career average; over 1,900 hits in his career — these are Hall-worthy numbers.
But they apparently are not impressive enough to Hall-of-Fame voters over the years since Oliva was eligible, and apparently not to the veterans’ committee when the former outfielder-designated hitter’s name appeared before that group as well.
“He was one of the premier players in baseball,” added retired player Julio Becquer on Oliva. “He definitely deserves to be in.”
“His career was cut short” due to an assortment of injuries, noted Carew. This seems to have been used against Oliva. Kirby Puckett’s career also was shortened because of injury, but that didn’t keep him out of Cooperstown. Before there was Kirby there was Oliva, named in 2010 as one of the 50 Greatest Twins and whose number six was retired by the team in 1991.
The Golden Era Committee should consult Oliva’s contemporaries, the ones who played with him and against him while doing their due diligence this time around to get the real deal. “He is one of the greatest hitters, one of the greatest players I was ever associated with, and also a great human being,” remembers Carew, who like Oliva swung a mean bat in his time.
2014 All-Star epilogue
The Twins and Major League Baseball last week released the following “big numbers” regarding the MLB All-Star Game and the surrounding events staged in the area: 121,169 persons attended three days of ballpark events; 114,878 persons also attended the FanFest; over 3,000 credentialed media; 144 Jr. RBI players; a 385 percent increase from a year ago in All-Star baseball caps purchased; and over $8.5 million donated by MLB and the Twins as “legacy community contribution(s),” the largest ever made by a host club. Also, $95,000 was donated to Minneapolis Boys & Girls Club programs and MLB’s RBI program from the Home Run Derby, when each home run hit was for money to be donated to charity.
And finally for all you thumbs-and-fingers text types, MLB reports 1.4 million tweets sent out during the All-Star Game, a 66 percent increase from a year ago. This number does not include the over 615,000 tweets on New York Yankees Derek Jeter, who announced he will retire after this season.