Tony Pedro Oliva (born Antonio Oliva Lopez Hernandes Javique on July 20, 1938 in Pinar del Río, Cuba) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder and designated hitter. A star of the first magnitude during baseball's "second deadball era", he spent his entire 15-year baseball career playing for the Minnesota Twins from 1962 through 1976.
Oliva was the 1964 American League Rookie of the Year. He was an All-Star for eight seasons, an American League (AL) batting champion for three seasons, an AL hit leader five seasons, and a Gold Glove winner one season. On a consensus Hall of Fame track his first eight years, his career was cut short in its prime by a series of severe knee injuries, forcing him to become a designated hitter during his final four years of baseball. He is widely regarded as one of the best players not inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 2014, Oliva appeared on the Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee election ballot for Hall of Fame consideration in 2015, and missed getting elected by one vote. None of the candidates on the ballot received the required 12 votes including two other former players from Cuba, Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant. The Committee meets and votes on ten candidates selected from the 1947 to 1972 era every three years.
By Dean Hanley
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