Originally posted by Steven Gallanter View Post
Tony Oliva lead the AL in hits 5 times in his first 9 years before his knee woes became completely debilitating. He also lead the AL in Slugging and won a Gold Glove and a ROY. His 289 in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher was good enough for 3rd. in the AL. The Twins went to the 1965 WS, came close in 1967 and won the AL West in 69 and 70.

I remember Frank Messer commenting in 1971, after Oliva edged out bobby Murcer for the AL batting crown; that Oliva was on track to a career better than Roberto Clemente's seeing as how Clemente was only a fairly good hitter the first 1/3 of his career.

Oliva did enough for me to vote for him for the HOF. He dominated an important statistical category while providing significant defense for teams that often contended.

One thing I remember is that Oliva often threw his bat while following through. Vlad Guerrero always reminded me of a super-sized Tony Oliva.