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Hall of Merit
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Monday, November 27, 2006

Al Oliver

Eligible in 1991.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:24 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:27 PM (#2246390)
Would have had a good case if he had played his whole career in CF, but Oliver looks like a perpetual backlogger to me.
   2. Brent Posted: December 03, 2006 at 06:02 AM (#2250434)
Can someone tell me what they remember of Oliver as a fielder? (I'm not asking about the uberstats -- I can look those up myself.) Why the mix of CF, 1B, and LF?
   3. TomH Posted: December 03, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2250610)
My memories of the 70s Pirates were that they NEEDED him to play CF, so he did; not great, but on mnay teams, he would have ben a corner guy. Stargell wasn't playing center. Neither wwas Ritchie Zisk, nor (an old) Clemente. It's to his credit he did a passable enough job that they got to the post-season often. Three Rivers was supposed to be a good extra-base hit park; I wonder what the 2B and 3B allowed in that big outfield were in many of those years, and if some of perception was the Pirates' slower OF.
   4. jingoist Posted: December 03, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2250781)
A charter member of the "Pittsburgh Lumber Company", as the trio of Clemente, Stargell and Oliver were referred to on billboards and advertisements of those early 70's teams.

As I recall Oliver and "Clean Gene" Clines came to the majors about the same time. The Pirates had brought in good field-light hitting Vic Davalillo as a stop-gap replacement for Matty Alou and then promoted the concept that Clines and Oliver would battle it out for a starting OF position alongside Stargell and Roberto. Oliver played some first base early in his career, batting against certain RH pitching that overmatched Bob Robertson, forshadowing his years in Montreal as a 1-Bman.

Oliver was a reasonably adept fielder both at 1st and in the outfield; seems to me he hurt his leg or knee in 75 or 76 and when he came cback he no longer had the requisite speed for CF.

Great contact hitter with power; he was essentially traded so that the Bucs could get Bert Blyleven (horrible experience for both Pittsburgh and Bert).

I believe Oliver became bitter after the Pirtaes traded him; but, he never quite reached the levels expected of the young Al Oliver (he was thought to be Clemente's heir apparent; and that was very tough act to follow, especially the deification of Clemente after hids death).

Some of his best statistical years were after he left Pittsburgh; I had to look that up at bbref as I had forgotten his great run with Montreal (3rd in MVP voting after 1982).
   5. Steve Treder Posted: December 03, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2250826)
Yes, Oliver was a first baseman in the minors, and earned the nickname "Mr. Scoop" for his sure hands there. But with he and Bob Robertson log-jammed at 1B in 1970, Oliver supposedly volunteered to the Pirates that if they would be inclined to trade Matty Alou, he'd be happy to take on the challenge of playing center. I don't know how true that is, but it wouldn't be out of character for Oliver, who was, shall we say, never plagued by self-doubt.

Much later in his career, when the Giants acquired him, he played quite poorly both offensively and defensively. Mike Krukow, then one of the Giants' pitchers, cracked that instead of "Mr. Scoop" the Giants' pitching staff took to calling Oliver "Mr. Oops."

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