July 6, 2022

Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Gott have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Forty-five years seems like a long time to believe anything, but do you know what seemed like a long time to Tony Oliva? His phone rang for the last 10 minutes.

“It’s 10 loooooong Minutes, “Oliva said with a laugh.

But at 4.40pm his phone rang. Jane Forbes Clark, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was set to be immortalized next July in Cooperstown, NY. After losing 23 times in the poll, Tony Oliva is the Hall of Fame winner, one of the biggest winners in doubles history.

“I’ve been waiting 45 years for this moment. It’s so awesome,” the 83-year-old said. “It’s something special. I never dreamed something like that would happen to me.”

In fact, considering Oliva’s stellar but fragmented baseball career, much of the state of Minnesota dreamed about it. He is a three-time batting champion and two-division winner with the heart and doubles of a league champion, but said he has given up hope of being selected to the Hall of Fame.

“Throughout the day, ‘If that call hadn’t come, it’s all over, Tony. But you know one thing? I’m never regretted myself,’ Oliva said. “I look around the room, I see my family here, I see my friends here. I’m happy.”

However, even the most confident doubles fan could not have imagined such a situation on Sunday with teammate Jim Gott (12 votes) and fellow Cuban outfielder Minnie Minoso (14). Dodgers first pacer Gill Hodges also received 12 votes, transforming the four-member team into the largest class of Hall of Fame players simultaneously selected by the Golden Days Era group.

1970 Doubles Team won nine games in AL West? That list includes five Hall of Famers: Oliva, Goddard, Harmon Gillibrew, Rod Curve – who was due to serve on the board on Sunday, but had to be canceled due to rising Govt numbers – and was replaced by Bert Playleven. Team.

“Tony and Kitty should be both [Kaat] Going to the Hall of Fame is one of the happiest days of my life, “said Curve, a native of California.” Tony, Kitty and Harmon are the guys I learned from. A great leaker. Tony is my big brother. “

Oliva will be in Cooperstown, NY, July 24, 2022, along with the latest players selected by Kaat, Minoso, Hodges and baseball writers from the United States, whose votes will be announced in January. In addition, longtime Kansas City Monarchs player and manager Buck O’Neill and Butt Fowler – stillwaters during the 1884 Minor League season, made him the first black player to play professional baseball – were selected by the Early Baseball Committee, including Flyleven. .

“I want to go there and see all the best players. They are my friends,” Oliva said. “I’ve been there many times. I went when Rod came in, I went when Paul Moliter came in. Kirby [Puckett], Too. “

Oliva has scored .304 all his life in 15 seasons with his only major league team, the Twins. He won his first two seasons, 1964 and ’65, and again the batting championship in 1971. In 1964 he won the AL Rookie of the Year and in 1965 the AL MVP voted second. World Series in Minnesota, and 1970s. He had 1,917 wins, 597 of which were for extra bases.

“I always thought he was a better hitter than Pitcher [was a pitcher], “Oliva said.” Whoever did the pitch, I thought I could hit him. “

But his career was cut short by knee injuries that began in 1971 and eventually limited him to serving as a designated hitter for the final four seasons of his career, which ended in 1976.

On the BBWAA ballot he never reached 50% of the vote, but for many years was close and close to various veteran groups. However, he received 23 times the bad news in 45 years until Sunday. Coincidentally, the longest decline in Oliva’s life was a 0-to-23 slide in June 1967.

Oliva ended it with a double game by Jim Loneborg, who won the Sai Young Award. Oliva put those Hall of Fame disappointments behind him on Sunday.

“My family never got a chance to see me play in the United States. My mom, my dad, my brothers, some sisters, they never saw me play,” said Oliva, who worked as a coach under. Tom Kelly for the doubles 1987 and 1991 World Series Championship teams. “I wish they had this opportunity today, but they are in paradise now. They would have been so proud to have a little country boy from Cuba in the Hall of Fame today.”

Fowler: Starts in Minnesota

Born John Jackson Jr., Fowler was a black professional baseball player aged 20 in 1878 – in 1884 he became a black player in organized baseball when he played for Stillwater in the Northwestern League. The 14-team league also included Minneapolis and St Paul’s teams.

Fowler had a 7-8 record as a pitcher and Stillwater had a 21-46 record with .302 bat in 48 games. In 1895, Fowler helped create the Page Fence Giants, one of the first successful Black Bornstorming teams. At the start of the 1895 season, the Giants played a four-game exhibition series against the Minneapolis Millers in Minneapolis. Fowler was the team-player-manager.

Ballots were revealed

Here are the poll results, 12 (75 percent) of the 16 votes needed for the election.

Golden Days Era Voting: Minnie Minoso (14 votes, 87.5%); Gill Hodges (12 votes, 75%); Jim Gott (12 votes, 75%); Tony Oliva (12 votes, 75%); Dick Allen (11 votes, 68.8%); Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, Danny Murtaugh, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills are three or less each.

Early baseball era voting: Buck O’Neill (13 votes, 81.3%); Butt Fowler (12 votes, 75%); Vic Harris (10 votes, 62.5%); John Donaldson (8 votes, 50%); Allie Reynolds (6 votes, 37.4%); Lefty O’Doul (5 votes, 31.3%); George Scholes (4 votes, 25%); Bill Dahlan, Grant Johnson and Dick Reding are three or less each.