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Baseball Card Hall of Fame

Tony Oliva 1966 #450

by William Szczepanek

1966 Topps Tony Oliva #450This card of Oliva from 1966 follows his batting titles from his first two years in the majors. Tony Oliva played his entire career for the Minnesota Twins from 1962 through 1976. Oliva was an 8-time All Star achieving the honor in all of his first 8 seasons, won 3 batting titles and led the league in hits 5 times. He finished with a lifetime .304 batting average and 220 home runs and with 1917 hits.

Oliva is one of those few players who has made it into the Baseball Card Hall of Fame on your vote, but not the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was out for a good deal due to knee problems and essentially had 8 excellent years in the majors, but I think it's difficult to think that a 3-time batting champ should not be in the Hall. Not reaching the 2,000 hit threshold is probably a factor.

Oliva was the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year as he led the American League in hitting with a .323 average. He become the first player to win both the Rookie of the Year Award and American League batting title. He led the AL in hits with 217, doubles with 43, extra base hits,84, total bases, 374 and runs, 109. In his second year, 1965, he again won the batting title with a .321 average.

"I love New York. I love to come here, to play here, the tradition here. I'll never forget my first home run here was over Mickey Mantle's head." ─ Tony Oliva

Tony OlivaOliva won his third AL batting title in 1971 with a .337 average. He also led the league in slugging percentage at (.546). He had 27 four-plus hit games. Many player are lucky to get one in a career.

Oliva came in second two times in the MVP voting, 1965 and 1970. Six times he led right fielders in putouts. In 1966 he won his only Gold Glove Award.

While he has not yet achieved his dream of meeting into the Hall of Fame, he still dreams. "I still dream about everything I achieved. I dream about my career, dream about playing baseball, meeting so many people, traveling so much."Tony Oliva

You can check out Oliva's statistics at Baseball Reference.com.

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