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Al Oliver - Hall of Famer?

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  • #31
    Reggie Smith played in 90% of his team games (including pinch hitting appearances, etc.) only 5 times in his career.

    That is just utterly deadly to a player's HOF case. One can simply not have the showcase seasons that Hall of Fame voters want to see when you're on the DL that much/

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    • #32
      Al Oliver

      It's depressing how far the Hall of Fame standards have fallen, at least in baseball-fever. For many years players like Gil Hodges, Rusty Staub, Steve Garvey and Bill Madlock have fallen short, even though their numbers far outclass many of today's modern candidates I've seen in these posts. But there's one player who's numbers are as close to HOF caliber as anyone who hasn't passed any of the usual milestones, and that player is Al Oliver. From 1968-1985 the basics are:

      G: 1773
      AB: 9049
      H: 2743
      2B: 529
      RBI: 1326
      Avg: .303

      Further details at http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/O/Poliva001.htm

      I dug up an Al Oliver HOF post from 2003, and one person's response was that Oliver had no flash and his home run output was "seriously low." Silly rabbit. Home runs aren't everything and if flash is a consideration, Deion Sanders would have been a unanimous, first-ballot choice. h

      Al Oliver didn't hit a lot of home runs, but he was a solid extra base hitter and was a lock to drive in 90 runs a year. He was a perfect #6 hitter, which was where he often was when he played for those great Pirate teams of the early '70s. He didn't walk much (535) but he didn't strike out much either (K/AB ratio of 1-12).and when he went to Texas and later Montreal he became a top #3 batter. Al Oliver was generally regarded as one of the toughest hitters and consistant run producers of his time for 18 years. As a first baseman and center fielder he wasn't a Gold Glover, but he didn't hurt his teams either. And he also has a World Series ring from the 1971 world champion Pirates.

      If Al Oliver's numbers aren't even worthy by the Veterans Committee, why even ask about many of the players listed elsewhere here? Truth is, Oliver and Hodges' omission from the Hall of Fame is yet further proof that many of the jokers on the HOF selection committee should be run out of Cooperstown on a rail.
      Last edited by JPS; 11-04-2009, 12:03 PM.

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      • #33
        I don't mean to seem condescending or anything, here, but you haven't done much in the way of presenting a Hall of Fame case - at least, in my eyes.

        Oliver has some nice all-time ranks in hits (50th) and doubles (32nd), but that's about it. He checks in at 125th in runs created, 167th in batting average, 170th in runs, 248th in home runs, 307th in OPS+, 350th in SLG, and 740th in OBP. He's was also a middling (at best) base-runner, ranking 24th in GIDP and posting a 58% success rate stealing bases. It also appears that he was a mediocre fielder. . . and, on top of it all, he ranks 298th in WAR.

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        • #34
          http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...ghlight=oliver

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          • #35
            Al Oliver is a borderline case, and very good example of a player who would make the Hall of Very Good.

            More than half of his career plate appearances came from the third spot in the batting order, but he took too long in finding a team which would put enough guys on base ahead of him for him to hit 100 RBI in a season.

            Not really his fault, but that's the way it shook out. And he had his best season at the plate when he was 35 years old. We already made up our minds on him by then.
            Your Second Base Coach
            Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Domenic View Post
              Oliver has some nice all-time ranks in hits (50th) and doubles (32nd), but that's about it. He checks in at 125th in runs created,
              I think these are "plus" factors for his case.

              Additionally:
              72nd Total Bases
              82ns Extra Base Hits

              Oliver also has 305 Career Win Shares.
              2nd NL ROY voting in 1969.
              3 time consecutive SS winner at 3 different positions/roles.
              7 time All Star.

              3rd most hits during career span, 1968-1985:
              Code:
                Cnt Player              H  From  To
              +----+-----------------+----+----+----+
                  1 Pete Rose         3305 1968 1985 
                  2 Rod Carew         2903 1968 1985 
              [B]    3 [U]Al Oliver[/U]         2743 1968 1985[/B] 
                  4 Steve Garvey      2441 1969 1985 
                  5 Reggie Jackson    2388 1968 1985
              3rd most hits in the 1970s:
              Code:
                Cnt Player              H  From  To
              +----+-----------------+----+----+----+
                  1 Pete Rose         2045 1970 1979 
                  2 Rod Carew         1787 1970 1979 
              [B]    3 [U]Al Oliver[/U]         1686 1970 1979 [/B]
                  4 Lou Brock         1617 1970 1979 
                  5 Bobby Bonds       1565 1970 1979
              More hits than any CFer from 1959-1989.
              Code:
                Cnt Player              H  From  To
              +----+-----------------+----+----+----+
              [B]    1 [U]Al Oliver[/U]         2743 1968 1985 [/B]
                  2 Vada Pinson       2731 1959 1975 
                  3 Willie Davis      2561 1960 1979 
                  4 Cesar Cedeno      2087 1970 1986 
                  5 Andre Dawson      2037 1976 1989
              Oliver has one of the highest BA, 9000+ PAs, not in the Hall, not active:
              Code:
                Cnt Player              BA    PA  From  To
              +----+-----------------+-----+-----+----+----+
                  1 Jimmy Ryan         .306  9106 1885 1903 
                  2 Mark Grace         .303  9290 1988 2003 
                  3 Pete Rose          .303 15861 1963 1986 
              [B]    4 [U]Al Oliver[/U]          .303  9778 1968 1985 [/B]
                  5 Frank Thomas       .301 10074 1990 2008
              Oliver has one of the highest CF BA, 7000+ PAs, not in the Hall, not active:
              Code:
                Cnt Player              BA    PA  From  To
              +----+-----------------+-----+-----+----+----+
                  1 George Van Haltre  .316  8979 1887 1903 
                  2 Jimmy Ryan         .306  9106 1885 1903 
              [B]    3 [U]Al Oliver[/U]          .303  9778 1968 1985 [/B]
                  4 Ben Chapman        .302  7420 1930 1946 
                  5 Paul Hines         .302  7470 1872 1891
              I know these are not overwhelming numbers, but I think they are enough to make Oliver a MAYBE candidate. He certainly needs to be brought up more often.

              I am not sure why Dale Murphy won so many GGs. When I look at BBP, Murphy doesn't look that much better than Oliver in terms of defense. Oliver was a below average fielder, but Murphy could also be seen in that light.
              Murphy's plus is that his peak was obviously better than Oliver's, but career wise, Oliver is not that far behind Murphy. Both have 121 OPS+ in 9000-1000 PAs, below average defense.

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              • #37
                I don't think it's quite fair to lump Oliver into the CF mix, as he played roughly half of his career between 1B/LF . . . about 40% of his career was spent at 1B.

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                • #38
                  I can't quite go for Al Oliver for the HOF. He was a fine player, but upon closer examination didn't bring the little extra needed to get in. He wasn't an especially good fielder & never had much more than above average speed in his prime. He wasn't a big power hitter, and never hit more than 22 HR's - although he was an excellent gap hitter. Furthermore, Oliver never scored 100 runs in any single year, a bi-product of weak OBP despite a stellar career BA. Oliver also never stood out in postseason play, batting .228 / 3 / 17 in 102 PS AB's.

                  The lack of definable peak hurts Oliver's case as well. Outside of his excellent 1982 campaign with the Expos, when he lead the league in hits/RBI/BA, Oliver never was a league leader in any category, and only drove in 100 runs 1 other time. His peak OPS+ outside of 1982 was 137 twice. Oliver has the type of solid steady production which tends to not do well in HOF voting despite accumulating borderline HOF credentials throughout the course of a career.

                  All in all, I don't support Oliver for the HOF because of the above points. I put him in roughly the same category as Rusty Staub - just on the outside looking in; but a staunch NO.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by JDD View Post
                    Al Oliver is a borderline case, and very good example of a player who would make the Hall of Very Good.

                    More than half of his career plate appearances came from the third spot in the batting order, but he took too long in finding a team which would put enough guys on base ahead of him for him to hit 100 RBI in a season.
                    Maybe he played at the wrong time, easily to wow you with that three-digit number. He was a rookie with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1969, a team that won five mini-pennants in the following six seasons, usually with a good lineup. Not great at putting people on base; much like Oliver himself, writ large.

                    Really it was a great situation. Oliver was only a cog, someone who benefited just as much from the team as it did from him. --considering everything in terms of finding the limelight and going down in posterity.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by JPS View Post
                      It's depressing how far the Hall of Fame standards have fallen, at least in baseball-fever. For many years players like Gil Hodges, Rusty Staub, Steve Garvey and Bill Madlock have fallen short, even though their numbers far outclass many of today's modern candidates I've seen in these posts.
                      My, your standards are awfully low,
                      falling hook, line and sinker for Hodges, Madlock, and Staub.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Oliver turned out to be the kind of guy that needed 3,000 hits to make the HOF. Had he done that, he'd be in. But he didn't do that. He was about as good as Rice, all things considered; his OWP was .599 to Rice's .629, but if you factor in Oliver's years in center field and right field, he probably has a defensive edge on Rice. (Oliver wasn't a good center fielder, but he was good enough to hold the position for a few years.)

                        If I want to view Oliver as a career RF (a reasonable view, given that he played more games at RF than anywhere else, and wasn't a real good CF) the question becomes one of "Why Oliver and not Dwight Evans?". Evans had a .646 OWP for his career, and he was a truly great defensive RF whose peak seasons were much better than Oliver's peak seasons. Oliver was out of gas when he retired, but Evans could have played a year or two more in a part-time role. Evans isn't at the head of the HOF line, and I go back and forth about his induction, but I can't see inducting Al Oliver when Dwight Evans, who is CLEARLY superior, and by a decent distance, is outside the HOF.
                        "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                        NL President Ford Frick, 1947

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                          ...If I want to view Oliver as a career RF (a reasonable view, given that he played more games at RF than anywhere else, and wasn't a real good CF)...
                          This is not true...Oliver played the plurality of his games in CF (840), narrowly beating out 1b (733).

                          Further, when Scoop did play a corner OF position, it was usually LF (486). Oliver played only 80 career games in RF, mostly early in his career.

                          If you're going to give him a position, it's almost got to be CF, doesn't it? Maybe the most accurate thing would be CF-1b. But a whole lot of guys slide down the defensive spectrum as they age, so pinning a 1b tag on him seems a little gratutitous. Besides, he played 1b on the Expos -- he might have played the OF if they didn't have the best young OF in baseball (Raines-Dawson-Cromartie).

                          [Oliver DHed 200 games, just to fill in the last blank.]

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                            This is not true...Oliver played the plurality of his games in CF (840), narrowly beating out 1b (733).

                            Further, when Scoop did play a corner OF position, it was usually LF (486). Oliver played only 80 career games in RF, mostly early in his career.

                            If you're going to give him a position, it's almost got to be CF, doesn't it? Maybe the most accurate thing would be CF-1b. But a whole lot of guys slide down the defensive spectrum as they age, so pinning a 1b tag on him seems a little gratutitous. Besides, he played 1b on the Expos -- he might have played the OF if they didn't have the best young OF in baseball (Raines-Dawson-Cromartie).

                            [Oliver DHed 200 games, just to fill in the last blank.]
                            I guess this is what I get for trying to go on memory. I remember Oliver playing RF for the Rangers, but that really was only 80 games.

                            Oliver wasn't a particularly good CF; he held the position because the Pirates had Stargell in LF, Clemente in RF, Bob Robertson at 1B, and Oliver had to play somewhere. He wasn't a joke in CF; he held the position, but he was never a threat to win a Gold Glove. Cromartie played LF in Montreal because Oliver couldn't play the outfield anymore; Cromartie was on the downside in 1982, and went to Japan in 1984. I stand by my general assessment; Dewey was more valuable on defense, and significantly better on offense. I can't see putting in Oliver before Dewey.
                            "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                            NL President Ford Frick, 1947

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                              I guess this is what I get for trying to go on memory. I remember Oliver playing RF for the Rangers, but that really was only 80 games.

                              Oliver wasn't a particularly good CF; he held the position because the Pirates had Stargell in LF, Clemente in RF, Bob Robertson at 1B, and Oliver had to play somewhere. He wasn't a joke in CF; he held the position, but he was never a threat to win a Gold Glove. Cromartie played LF in Montreal because Oliver couldn't play the outfield anymore; Cromartie was on the downside in 1982, and went to Japan in 1984. I stand by my general assessment; Dewey was more valuable on defense, and significantly better on offense. I can't see putting in Oliver before Dewey.
                              Um, I love you Fuzzy, but Cromartie shifted to RF when Raines came along.

                              Oliver didn't have the arm to play RF; that's why he never stuck out there. His arm was notoriously weak...I'm not sure as a result of some injury or whether it was just inherently poor.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                                My, your standards are awfully low,
                                falling hook, line and sinker for Hodges, Madlock, and Staub.
                                :lightbulb:I have an idea: Why don't you go tell that to the Cooperstown tricksters who voted Bill Mazeroski into the Hall? Maz was among the best fielding second-basemen ever, but if he's a Hall-of-Famer mostly on the merit of his World Series-winning home run in 1960 (and make no mistake - he is) then Roger Maris should get top billing because his name has been mentioned more often over the last 48 years than any other player in the game. So should Bobby Thomson for that matter. After all, it IS the Hall of Fame, right?

                                Back to my original point (which you partially missed, incidently): The only people here who's standards are low are the ones promoting the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, Will Clark, Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria and Curt Schilling as Hall of Famers. The players I mentioned make up the legitimate HOF adage that if you have to ask if they belong, then they don't. However, I happen to think Hodges should have gotten in at least towards the end of his 15-year window because he was a crucial part of the great Dodger teams of the '50s as well as one of the finest first-basemen ever. The Dodgers would never have won six pennants and two world championships from 1949-1959 without him.

                                Others would make a case for Rusty Staub, Steve Garvey, Bill Madlock, Ron Santo, Lee Smith or Bert Blyleven, but I stand by my choices...and having had the privilege of seeing Al Oliver play, I consider myself a good witness for the case. I agree that Oliver wasn't a top-shelf player, but as a veteran's committee selection, it makes sense.
                                Last edited by JPS; 11-05-2009, 02:06 AM.

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