Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, November 19, 2010

1976 Topps #620 - Al Oliver

  • This guy could hit. He wasn't known for his power, but he was usually in double figures in home runs,  hit .300 often, and could have been a Hall of Famer  if he would have had a better decline part of his career.
  • Al Oliver was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1964. Oliver played in the minors from 1964-1968 and got a short look by the Pirates at the end of the 1968 season. Al went 1 for 8 (.125) in four games for the Pirates in '68.
  • Oliver finished second to Ted Sizemore in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1969. Al played first base for most of the 1969 season but also saw some action in the outfield that season. Oliver batted .285 with 17 HR and 70 RBI in 129 games in 1969.
  • Al split time between first base and the outfield in 1970 and batted .270 with 12 HR and 83 RBI in 151 games in 1970. Oliver went 2 for 8 (.250) during the 1970 NLCS.
  • Oliver was the starting center fielder for the Pirates for most of the 1971 season. Al batted .282 with 14 HR and 68 RBI during the regular season. Oliver went 3 for 12 (.250) in the NLCS and was 4 for 19 (.211) in the World Series. Al Oliver - Another Superstar for the Pirates? - April 1971 Baseball Digest
  • Oliver made his first NL All Star team in 1972 (he went 0 for 1 in the game) and finished 7th in MVP voting. Al batted .312 with 12 HR and 89 RBI in the 1972 season.
  • In 1973 Oliver batted .292 with 20 HR and 99 RBI.
  •  Oliver spent about 2/3 of his time in center field and 1/3 of the time at first base in 1974. Al batted .321 with 11 HR and 85 RBI in 1974. Oliver went 2 for 14 (.143) during the 1974 NLCS.
  • Oliver was on the NL All Star team again in 1975 (he doubled and scored a run) and batted .280 with 18 HR and 84 RBI. Oliver was 2 for 11 (.182) in the 1975 NLCS.
  • Al batted .323 with 12 HR and 61 RBI in 121 games in 1976. He was in the 1976 All Star Game and went 0 for 1.
  • The 1977 season was Al's last one in Pittsburgh. Oliver batted .308 with 19 HR and 82 RBI. After the 1977 season Al was sent to the Texas Rangers as part of the complicated four-team trade that brought Bert Blyleven to Pittsburgh.
  • When he got to Texas Oliver switched his number to "0." I think he and Ken Burrough (#00) of the NFL Houston Oilers were the first guys I remember with that type of number. Al batted .324 with 14 HR and 89 RBI in his first year in the American League.
  • Oliver batted .323 with 12 HR and 76 RBI in 1979. In 1980 Oliver led the AL with 163 games played. He batted .319 with 19 HR and 117 RBI and was an American League All Star. Oliver went 0 for 1 in the 1980 All Star Game.
  • In the strike-shortened 1981 season Oliver batted .309 in 102 games. Al went 0 for 1 in the 1981 All Star Game.
  • Before the 1982 season Al was traded to the Montreal Expos for Larry Parrish and Dave Hostetler.
  • Oliver had a big year in 1982. He led the NL in batting average (.331), RBI (109), hits (204), and doubles (43). Al was 2 for 2 with a double in the 1982 All Star Game.
  • Al had another good year in 1983, batting .300 with an NL-leading 38 doubles. He was an All Star for the last time in 1983 and was 1 for 2 with a walk and a double as the starting first baseman.
  • Before the 1984 season Al was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Fred Breining, Max Venable, and Andy McGaffigan.
  • Oliver played less than a full season with the Giants. He was batting .298 for the Giants when he was traded with Renie Martin to the Philadelphia Phillies on August 20 for Kelly Downs and George Riley. Oliver demanded the trade so that he would have a better chance at his pursuit of 3000 hits. Al batted .312 for the Phillies in the last six weeks of the 1984 season.
  • Before the 1985 season Al was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Pat Zachry. Oliver batted .253 in 35 games for the Dodgers in 1985. On July 9 Oliver was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Len Matuszek. Al batted .251 in 61 games for the Blue Jays in 1985. Oliver went 3 for 8 (.375) in the 1985 NLCS.
  • Al became a free agent after the 1985 season. Oliver wasn't signed by anyone (possibly due to collusion) and he retired.
  • Al Oliver Deserved More Recognition in His Career - December 1992 Baseball Digest
  • Al Oliver's official website. Oliver is now a motivational speaker.
  • Liked to face: Don Carrithers (.611 in 18 AB); Frank Pastore (.542 in 24 AB); Randy Jones (.419 in 43 AB)
  • Hated to face: Mark Thurmond (.000 in 11 AB); Tom House (.045 in 22 AB); Ross Baumgarten (.045 in 21 AB)

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