Saturday, December 3, 2011

DAHOF Top 100 -- #96 Al Oliver

Continuing the series of posts featuring my favorite top 100 ballplayers of all-time.

OK, I'll admit it... I have a soft spot in my heart for nomadic first basemen with the ability punish the baseball. Throw in a little bit of funky style, the quirky uniform number "0", a short stint with the Phillies, and a compelling hall of fame argument - you don't need much more of an explanation why I have included Al Oliver on my 'favorites' list.

Al began his career in Pittsburgh, playing alongside the great Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. He hit the last home run ever at Forbes Field AND had the first ever RBI at Three Rivers Stadium. He was part of the first "all black" starting lineup. He made seven all star games with three different teams, starting in the 1984 game as a member of the Montreal Expos. In Montreal he also won the 1982 NL batting crown. During his career, he won the Silver Slugger award at three different positions he left the game with a .303 career average.

My most vivid Al Oliver memories are from the four straight All Star Games (1980-84) he played in during his time with the Rangers and Expos. In each of these mid-summer classics he stylishly treated the national television audience, most of which had not seen him play all season, to a uncommon pair of new white cleats.


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