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Al Oliver - Hall of Famer?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    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.
    This is probably a good guess. Oliver always looked like a the type of batter who would hit more HRs, but he really wasn't that type of hitter, not really a typical slugger. I think that makes Oliver look more like a disappoint, when in reality he shouldn't have been viewed like that at all.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by dgarza View Post
      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
      How many hits did they actually have as Center fielders? Here are some of Oliver's contemporaries:

      2435 W. Davis
      1984 V. Pinson
      1921 A. Otis
      1761 G. Maddox
      1693 F. Lynn
      1627 C. Cedeno
      1389 W. Wilson
      1166 A. Dawson
      1081 Da. Murphy
      1005 A. Oliver

      As has been said, Oliver spent the great majority of his career at hitter's positions: 1B, corner OF, DH. He played only 35% of his games in CF.
      Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

      Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Cougar View Post
        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.
        I don't know why I've thought him as a RF all these years.

        And Cromartie; I forgot that Ellis Valentine was traded to the Mets by the time Oliver hit Montreal. Cromartie couldn't really play RF, either.

        I still say: Why Oliver if not Evans?
        "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


        • #49
          Originally posted by JPS View Post
          :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.
          Hodges would be a Rice-ish selection if he made the HOF; he was near the very top in terms of percentage of the BBWAA vote for guys who never made it, as Rice would have been if he never made it.

          One could say the same about Tony Perez. On the other hand, one could say that the Yankees of the seventies wouldn't have won any pennants without Willie Randolph or Thurman Munson. There are a lot of guys that pennant winning teams would not have won pennants without that aren't really HOF material, and Hodges is one of those guys. Will Clark was a far superior offensive player to Hodges while active.
          "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


          • #50
            Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
            I don't know why I've thought him as a RF all these years.

            And Cromartie; I forgot that Ellis Valentine was traded to the Mets by the time Oliver hit Montreal. Cromartie couldn't really play RF, either.

            I still say: Why Oliver if not Evans?
            I suspect your misapprehension is because left handed throwers end up in RF more often than LF.

            You're right about Cro in RF...better than Oliver, but not much. Of course Valentine's arm may have spoiled the Expos a bit...teams can live with a mediocre arm in RF if they must, but following Ellis' cannon everyone seemed rag-armed.

            I agree Evans > Oliver, and I don't think it's very close.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Cougar View Post
              I suspect your misapprehension is because left handed throwers end up in RF more often than LF.

              You're right about Cro in RF...better than Oliver, but not much. Of course Valentine's arm may have spoiled the Expos a bit...teams can live with a mediocre arm in RF if they must, but following Ellis' cannon everyone seemed rag-armed.

              I agree Evans > Oliver, and I don't think it's very close.
              As I recall, Oliver simply couldn't play the OF anymore by the time he went to Montreal; that's why he was moved back to 1B.
              "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


              • #52
                Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                As I recall, Oliver simply couldn't play the OF anymore by the time he went to Montreal; that's why he was moved back to 1B.
                Could be, but if that is what happened it happened awfully abruptly.

                In 1980 (age 33) Al plays 163 games, 157 in the OF (90% in LF, 10% in RF), with spot play at DH and 1b. His fielding stats were mediocre and slipping, but far from terrible. Might have indicated he needed more days off or at DH.

                The next season is 1981, the strike season. Al is suddenly an exclusive DH, playing the role in 101 games out of 105 the team played. He got one inning at 1b.

                1982 he's swapped to the Expos, and is exclusively a 1b, playing it more than passably, and never sees regular service in the OF again, except for one month playing with the Dodgers in 1985, his final season, when he began the season as the starting LF. By then he really couldn't play OF anymore, and since he wasn't hitting much either he lost his job by May.

                Seems like something dramatic happened around 1980-81...which could have just been entering his mid-30's. Anyone know any more?

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                  Hodges would be a Rice-ish selection if he made the HOF; he was near the very top in terms of percentage of the BBWAA vote for guys who never made it, as Rice would have been if he never made it.
                  One could say the same about Tony Perez.
                  Fair enough. That's a reasonable point.
                  Will Clark was a far superior offensive player to Hodges while active.
                  Let's check the numbers on that one.

                  Hodges played in 2071 games in 18 years while Clark played 1976 games in 15 years so the comparisons are fair:

                  Average: Clark .303, Hodges .273.
                  Slugging: Clark .503, Hodges .487
                  Runs: Clark 1186, Hodges 1105.
                  Doubles: Clark 440, Hodges 295
                  Triples: Hodges 48, Clark 47
                  Home Runs: Hodges 370, Clark 188
                  Walks: Hodges 943, Clark 937.
                  Strikeouts: Hodges 1137, Clark 1190.
                  RBI: Hodges 1274, Clark 1205
                  SB: Clark 67, Hodges 63.
                  30-home run seasons: Hodges 6, Clark 1.
                  40-home run seasons: Hodges 2, Clark 0.
                  30-double seasons: Clark 6, Hodges 0.
                  100-RBI seasons: Hodges 7, Clark 4.
                  Career fielding avg. at 1st base: Hodges .992, Clark .991.
                  Pennants: Hodges 7, Clark 1.
                  World Championship rings: Hodges 2, Clark 0.

                  I give Hodges the edge, but not by much. It's a fun comparison, though, isn't it?
                  Last edited by JPS; 11-05-2009, 10:07 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by JPS View Post
                    Fair enough. That's a reasonable point.
                    Let's check the numbers on that one.

                    Hodges played in 2071 games in 18 years while Clark played 1976 games in 15 years so the comparisons are fair:

                    Average: Clark .303, Hodges .273.
                    Slugging: Clark .503, Hodges .487
                    Runs: Clark 1186, Hodges 1105.
                    Doubles: Clark 440, Hodges 295
                    Triples: Hodges 48, Clark 47
                    Home Runs: Hodges 370, Clark 188
                    Walks: Hodges 943, Clark 937.
                    Strikeouts: Hodges 1137, Clark 1190.
                    RBI: Hodges 1274, Clark 1205
                    SB: Clark 67, Hodges 63.
                    30-home run seasons: Hodges 6, Clark 1.
                    40-home run seasons: Hodges 2, Clark 0.
                    30-double seasons: Clark 6, Hodges 0.
                    100-RBI seasons: Hodges 7, Clark 4.
                    Career fielding avg. at 1st base: Hodges .992, Clark .991.
                    Pennants: Hodges 7, Clark 1.
                    World Championship rings: Hodges 2, Clark 0.

                    I give Hodges the edge, but not by much. It's a fun comparison, though, isn't it?
                    Clark had 284 HR: 188 in the NL, 96 in the AL...you copied off the wrong line.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                      Clark had 284 HR: 188 in the NL, 96 in the AL...you copied off the wrong line.
                      I apologize for being a stickler, but there's more than a trivial difference between 188 career HR and 284 career HR.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        There was serious talk late '84 that Oliver had a good chance to reach 3000 hits AND have a lifetime .300 batting average and that that combination would make it impossible to keep him out of the hall of fame. He also had a run of 9 straight .300 seasons going at that time (though officially '83 was not a true .300 season at .29967 just as Ted Williams would not have been a .400 hitter if he had gone .3995 or better. Its a myth).


                        By the way, Hodges is no where near my Hall of fame level, but I will mention that at least historically he is in a unique position.

                        Take a look at the all time home run leaders through 1961:

                        Ruth 714
                        Foxx 534
                        Williams 521
                        Ott 511
                        Gehrig 493
                        Musial 444
                        Snider 384 age 34
                        Mantle 374 through age 29
                        Mathews 370 age 29
                        Kiner 369
                        Hodges 361 through age 37
                        Dimaggio 361
                        Mize 359
                        Berra 340 through age 36
                        Greenberg 331
                        Mays 319 through age 30
                        Simmons 307
                        Hornsby 301
                        Klein 300

                        Hodges was 11th all time, but he is the only player from among the 19 guys with 300 home runs at the time who did not get into the hall of fame. If you add Banks who topped 300 the next year, he is the only one of the first 20 to hit 300 not to get in.


                        Things I find interesting: Mantle and Mathews were 8th and 9th all time and were not 30 when the season began.

                        Mays was older than Mantle but 55 home runs behind at the time.

                        If you take Mantle's home runs through age 29 season, and Mays' from age 30 and beyond, you get 755!

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          If temperment and being a team player helps you get HOF votes-Oliver Is Out

                          I clearly remember the deciding game of the 1985 playoffs between Kansas City and Toronto. Oliver started at DH or 1B but then in about the fifth inning when KC brought in a lefty pitcher Oliver was taken out of the lineup by Blue Jays manager, Bobby Cox in favor of a righty hitter. With the playoffs on the line and the chance to go into the World Series, instead of just keeping quiet and accepting the move, Oliver picked that moment to have a swearing, screaming meltdown.
                          This occured one or two days after Oliver's 39th birthday, and although he had a relatively good year and the fact that he was only three years removed from a National League batting title....at that point Oliver's career was over. He never played in another MLB game.
                          No owner wanted to employ him again and give him a chance to get the 240 some hits he needed to reach 3,000, with that kind of deportment and
                          me-first attitude. He was really the antithesis of a good team player in that instance (and probably at other less dramatic times in his career). When a player puts his personal situation over that of his team when it's in a do or die game, then there's something wrong with that player. Possibly in part because of the distraction Oliver created, Toronto went on to lose that game and that ALCS.
                          With 2757 hits, a .303 average and around 250 home runs, statistically Oliver would appear to have some decent Hall Of Fame qualifications, but on a personal level, Oliver isn't even close to making the Hall and never was.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by brett View Post
                            There was serious talk late '84 that Oliver had a good chance to reach 3000 hits AND have a lifetime .300 batting average and that that combination would make it impossible to keep him out of the hall of fame.
                            That would be hard to ignore. I wish he would have reached that mark. Too bad he didn't. He only reached 2700+ hits with a .300+ BA.

                            But let's look at that list. I love Al Oliver, but he just kinda sticks out from the group (or does he?):
                            2700+ hits, .300+ BA, (OF, 1B, DH)
                            Code:
                              Cnt Player            OPS+   H    BA  From  To
                            +----+-----------------+----+----+-----+----+----+
                                1 Babe Ruth          207 2873  .342 1914 1935 
                                2 Lou Gehrig         179 2721  .340 1923 1939 
                                3 Ty Cobb            167 4189  .366 1905 1928 
                                4 Stan Musial        159 3630  .331 1941 1963 
                                5 Tris Speaker       158 3514  .345 1907 1928 
                                6 Willie Mays        156 3283  .302 1951 1973 
                                7 Hank Aaron         155 3771  .305 1954 1976 
                                8 Mel Ott            155 2876  .304 1926 1947 
                                9 Sam Crawford       144 2961  .309 1899 1917 
                               10 Cap Anson          141 3418  .333 1871 1897 
                               11 Jesse Burkett      140 2850  .338 1890 1905 
                               12 Paul Waner         134 3152  .333 1926 1945 
                               13 Tony Gwynn         132 3141  .338 1982 2001 
                               14 Al Simmons         132 2927  .334 1924 1944 
                               15 Roberto Clemente   130 3000  .317 1955 1972 
                               16 Zack Wheat         129 2884  .317 1909 1927 
                               17 Goose Goslin       128 2735  .316 1921 1938 
                               18 Willie Keeler      126 2932  .341 1892 1910 
                               19 Jake Beckley       125 2930  .308 1888 1907 
                               20 George Sisler      124 2812  .340 1915 1930 
                            [B]   21 [U]Al Oliver[/U]          121 2743  .303 1968 1985 [/B]
                               22 Sam Rice           112 2987  .322 1915 1934
                            Last edited by dgarza; 11-06-2009, 09:27 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                              Oliver has one of the most oddly truncated careers of any player to have a realistic HOF case. He started out as a first baseman, then moved RIGHTWARD on the defensive spectrum to CENTER field. That's a pretty odd shift, dontcha think? Center field requires the kind of skills that one usually doesn't find in a first baseman (speed, throwing arm). Oliver played more games at CF than any other position; he divided the rest of his career between LF and 1B. He never won a Gold Glove at any of these positions, but he was never considered to be a defensive liability, either.
                              Oliver moved to CF in the early 70s after the Pirates traded Matty Alou, and Bob Robertson was coming on very strong. For a couple of years it looked like Robertson would become a major home run force and he could only play 1B. So, Oliver became a CFer sort of by default. He had a good bat, was a good athlete, and had enough talent and skill to play CF- although not more than adequately.

                              Even though Oliver played more games at CF than anywhere else, it seems to me to be a bit misleading to characterize him as a CFer. He played quite a few more games combined at 1B and LF- where he fit better.

                              Al was a good player for a long time. He wouldn't get my vote for the HOF, but he was better than several enshrined there.

                              I'd probably rate Vada Pinson slightly higher than Al, but he wouldn't make it either. For a few years it appeared that Pinson would be a HOFer, but he regressed and became just a good player for quite a few years. Better defense than Oliver, though.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                                That would be hard to ignore. I wish he would have reached that mark. Too bad he didn't. He only reached 2700+ hits with a .300+ BA.

                                But let's look at that list. I love Al Oliver, but he just kinda sticks out from the group (or does he?):
                                2700+ hits, .300+ BA, (OF, 1B, DH)
                                Code:
                                  Cnt Player            OPS+   H    BA  From  To
                                +----+-----------------+----+----+-----+----+----+
                                    1 Babe Ruth          207 2873  .342 1914 1935 
                                    2 Lou Gehrig         179 2721  .340 1923 1939 
                                    3 Ty Cobb            167 4189  .366 1905 1928 
                                    4 Stan Musial        159 3630  .331 1941 1963 
                                    5 Tris Speaker       158 3514  .345 1907 1928 
                                    6 Willie Mays        156 3283  .302 1951 1973 
                                    7 Hank Aaron         155 3771  .305 1954 1976 
                                    8 Mel Ott            155 2876  .304 1926 1947 
                                    9 Sam Crawford       144 2961  .309 1899 1917 
                                   10 Cap Anson          141 3418  .333 1871 1897 
                                   11 Jesse Burkett      140 2850  .338 1890 1905 
                                   12 Paul Waner         134 3152  .333 1926 1945 
                                   13 Tony Gwynn         132 3141  .338 1982 2001 
                                   14 Al Simmons         132 2927  .334 1924 1944 
                                   15 Roberto Clemente   130 3000  .317 1955 1972 
                                   16 Zack Wheat         129 2884  .317 1909 1927 
                                   17 Goose Goslin       128 2735  .316 1921 1938 
                                   18 Willie Keeler      126 2932  .341 1892 1910 
                                   19 Jake Beckley       125 2930  .308 1888 1907 
                                   20 George Sisler      124 2812  .340 1915 1930 
                                [B]   21 [U]Al Oliver[/U]          121 2743  .303 1968 1985 [/B]
                                   22 Sam Rice           112 2987  .322 1915 1934
                                That list is composed of All first basemen or outfielders - Traditionally the top hitters positions.

                                Comment

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