We say happy birthday to Tony Oliva who was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba on this day in 1938.
Tony was quite a player:
- He won 3 American League batting titles and led the American League in hits five times and in doubles four times;
- He earned one Gold Glove, in 1966, and was named The Sporting News AL Player of the year twice (1965, ’71); and
- Oliva hit over .300 six times in over 11 full seasons and .285 or better 10 times, never finishing below .270.
Unfortunately, injuries cut short his career in the 1970’s. Nevertheless, he finished with a .304 average, 1917 hits, 220 Hrs & 947 RBI.
What if he had played 2,500 games rather than 1,676? The answer is 3,000 hits and probably one or two more batting titles. One of the greatest Cuban players in major league history!