Those of you who have been paying attention here on this blog know how much I love Al Oliver, and today I post my 1972 "missing" in-action Topps card for him:
Nice shot of "Scoop" at the plate!
Now, what do you call a guy who was a seven-time all-star, Silver Slugger winner at three different positions, collector of over 2700 hits, 200 home runs, .300 career average, 1300 runs batted in, and 500 doubles?
I call that a Hall of Famer, especially when you consider that the first nine years or so of his career were the "dead" 1970's.
Yes I know an argument can be made here for Oliver's Hall-worthiness.
But I have always felt that he fell into that Vada Pinson, Dave Parker, Steve Garvey crowd that should have gotten, at the very LEAST, more of a shot at Cooperstown.
I mean, when he was finally eligible for Hall voting, he only got 4.3% and was dropped just like that! THAT is just insane.
He won three consecutive Silver Slugger Awards in 1980-1982, as an outfielder, a designated hitter and a first baseman and he batted .300 or better eleven times in his 18-year career!
He finished in the top-10 in batting eight times during his career, in the top-10 in hits eight times in his career, top-10 in doubles nine times in his career, top-10 in total bases five times, runs scored four times, runs batted in four times, triples three times, extra base hits five times and slugging percentage twice.
Is THAT enough of a statement? His consistency was amazing.
And to top it off, he should have been the National League Rookie of the Year in 1969 but got ripped off, with the award going to Los Angeles Dodger Ted Sizemore.
Al Oliver is grossly overlooked as far as players of that era in my book.