The Baseball Hall of Fame will soon be announcing the 2015 inductees. It looks very likely that Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will join the Hall. They deserve to go in on the first ballot. They were great pitchers.
Unfortunately, two great “cubanos” from recent baseball memory will not be going in this time around
Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball from 1964-72, until a knew injury cut short his career:
“Oliva was a .313 hitter from 1962-72 for the Twins, with whom he spent his entire 15-year career, and led the AL in hits five times from 1964-70.
He was a three-time AL batting champion and an eight-time All-Star, and was twice runner-up for the AL MVP Award.”
He was outstanding and managed to get 2,000 hits and over 900 Rbi’s in 12 years in the majors. Oliva was the definition of consistency. Just ask the pitchers of that period and you will hear that pitching to Oliva was impossible. His best season was probably 1970 when he hit .325 with 107 Rbis.
Tiant, or “El Tiante”, was flashy and one of the most popular players ever to wear the Red Sox uniform.
His performance in the 1975 post season was legendary with that pitching motion that drove batters crazy and fans wild.
Tiant, the son of a Cuban who excelled in the old Negro Leagues, won 229 games with a 3.30 ERA. He led the AL twice in ERA. He was plain dominant in 1968 when he went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA.
Oliva almost made it this time and he probably will soon. We are hoping that Tiant joins him as well.
As a kid growing up in the US, I collected the Oliva and Tiant baseball cards. They were two of my favorites. I also had a chance to meet them. They are two great ambassadors for the game.