Claim to fame: I don’t know if this rates for anything, but Oliva may have been the first player who I was surprised was not in the Hall of Fame. I started reading about baseball as a child, and when I was eight or nine, my dad gave me some of his books he’d had growing up in the 1960s. Oliva is profiled in one of the books, Heroes of the Major Leagues, and I suppose it’s fitting it was published in 1967. Little did the author know that in five years, Oliva would go from a perennial threat for the American League batting championship to an injury-plagued also-ran. As a kid, I didn’t know the difference and thought of Oliva in the same vein as his contemporary Roberto Clemente. I still do to some extent.

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FORT MYERS, FLA. – Tony Oliva has gone from a father confessor to a grandfatherly presence with the Twins’ young players from the Caribbean. This is particularly true with position players, with whom Tony can talk both about life and his other favorite subject, hitting.

“What’s with Oswaldo Arcia?” Tony was asked early Wednesday morning, as the Twins’ greatest all-around hitter made his way through the home clubhouse at Hammond Stadium.

This search for insight was based on Arcia having been out of the Twins exhibition lineup since March 4, because of what the 22-year-old Venezuelan had self-diagnosed as complications from food poisoning.

“He’s feeling fine,” Oliva said. “He might be in the lineup today.”

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Check out our pictures from TwinsFest 2014 on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.680597181978871.1073741830.277116728993587&type=1

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins hosted their annual Diamond Awards on Thursday night, and the show was highlighted by Twins great Tony Oliva receiving the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hall of Famer Rod Carew was on hand to present the award to Oliva, whom he still affectionately refers to as “Roomie” after they shared a room on the road as Minnesota teammates for 10 seasons from 1967-76. The award is named after Carneal, who was the voice of the Twins from 1962-2006.

“I want to thank the baseball writers and the Twins organization for allowing me to bestow this award, because I don’t know if you could find a nicer person in the world,” Carew said of Oliva. “He always has a smile on his face and has nice things to say about people. If you can find someone in this area that has one bad thing to say about Tony Oliva, I’d like to find them, because that’s the type of individual he is. He’s very loving and very caring.”

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Minneapolis And The Minnesota Twins Make A Pitch For the All-Star Game After Successful RNC

Minneapolis And The Minnesota Twins Make A Pitch For the All-Star Game A successful RNC positions Minneapolis to attract national events

Sept. 10, 2008 – (MINNEAPOLIS) – Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter, and Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, joined by representatives of the Minnesota Twins, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, today announced plans to make a pitch to host Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2014.

2014 All-Star Game

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Great blog post about Tony- http://classicminnesotatwins.blogspot.com/2011/12/tony-oliva-traveling-rutted-road-to.html

Quotes he collected from other players about Tony-

Oliva’s got real quick hands, like Stan Musial, and he’s got bat control like Willie Mays. Tony always gets a piece of the ball – like nobody I’ve ever seen.”- White Sox Manager Eddie Stanky, Baseball Digest, Aug. 1966.

Q: Who was the best hitter you ever faced?
Tony Oliva. Because, he could hit any pitch, anywhere. He did not have a weakness.” – Hall of Famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Baseball Digest, Aug., 1992
He was as good as any hitter of his time…Better.” – Lou Piniella, Hall Of Fame Press Release, Nov. 29, 2011
“…The guy I watched was Tony-O…When I got to the big leagues, people assumed that Harmon Killebrew must have been my favorite player as a kid. But I always focused on watching Tony swing the bat and hit the ball to all fields.”- former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek, Tales From The Minnesota Twins Dugout, 2007
Oliva, not [Jose] Canseco , is the greatest Cuban hitter who ever lived.” -Camilo Pascual, who scouted and signed Canseco for the Oakland Athletics, in “The New Face of Baseball: The 100-Year Rise And Triumph of Latinos.”
He was one of the best hitters I ever saw. And it was not only what he hit, but when. He always seemed to be getting big hits.” – former big leaguer/current Chicago Stinking White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, Nov. 29, 2011 Hall of Fame Press Release (check link to Denard Span’s comments, You Tube).

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Winter Caravan in Northfield

January 13, 2014

Tony_Oliva_Winter_Caravan_Northfield

Thunderous applause from community members, and hundreds of Northfield elementary and middle school students and staff welcomed members of the Minnesota Twins Caravan to the Northfield Middle School stage on Monday.

Twins radio broadcaster Cory Provus, starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, relief pitcher and Randolph, Minn., native Caleb Thielbar, and Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame member Tony Oliva visited the school for more than an hour’s worth of speaking and answering questions.

“I enjoy very much to come and see the people that for so many years have supported us,” said Oliva, who was starting his 50th Twins Caravan with Monday’s stop in Northfield.

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The Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan first kicked off 54 years ago, in 1960.


Tony Oliva hopped on board four years later, in 1964. He had just completed his first full season playing with the Twins.

“I may have missed one or two (Twins Caravans) over the years,” Oliva said, “but I can’t believe I’ve missed more than that.”

Care to guess how many cities/towns he has visited over the years with the Caravan?

“I have no idea,” Oliva said, “but I wish now I wrote them all down. I’ve been to a lot of places, all over Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.”

Oliva, 75, was on hand Tuesday when the Caravan made a stop in Rochester at the Canadian Honker Events at the Ramada.

Earlier that day, the group — which included pitchers Kyle Gibson and Caleb Thielbar, coach Paul Molitor and radio announcer Cory Provus — stopped in Waseca and Owatonna. When they first started the Caravan on Monday, they visited Northfield and Mason City, Iowa, and today they will be in St. Charles, Preston and Winona.

“I never get tired of it,” said Oliva. “It’s an opportunity for the fans to see us up close and personal,”

For years, the Caravan traveled more than it does now, even making stops as far away as Milwaukee.

Of course, those were the years after the Braves left for Atlanta and before the Brewers moved to Milwaukee.

“We had a lot of Twins fans in Wisconsin back then,” Oliva said. “In the summer, they drove over and watched us play. And we used to have a minor league club in Wisconsin Rapids.”

Braving the elements

Twins Caravans have always been held in January so you can imagine some of the driving conditions Oliva has faced over the years but as far as he can recall, they never had to cancel.

“Back in the ’60s and 70s we always had days like today,” said Oliva, referring to Tuesday when it snowed on top of some very strong wind. “The last few years were OK but today, I saw quite a few cars in the ditches, even three semis.

“Driving wasn’t a whole lot of fun. I’m glad I wasn’t behind the wheel.”

The Twins Caravan is said to be one of the longest running and most extensive offseason team caravans in professional sports. It continues through Jan. 23 and before its over, will stop in nearly 50 communities throughout the Upper Midwest.

Oliva works in a variety of roles with the Twins as a hitting instructor at the major and minor league levels and also assists the club with marketing and community relations.

He also works about 50 games as an analyst with the Twins Spanish Radio Network.

“I do both home and away games,” he said, “and enjoy it very much.”

In his 15 seasons with the Twins (1962-1976), Oliva appeared in 1,676 games and batted .304 with 220 home runs, 947 RBIs, 870 runs, 1,917 hits and 86 stolen bases.

He was also elected to the All-Star Game his first eight seasons but knee injuries eventually took a toll. In fact, Oliva served as a designated hitter only his final four seasons.

The 2014 Hall of Fame class was announced last week. Some would argue that Oliva is Hall of Fame worthy.

“That’s nice,” he said, “but it’s not something I even think about any more. There’s nothing I can do.”

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For our friends who speak spanish, here are a few blogs talking about Tony.

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2013/12/31/1646349/pitcher-de-los-marlins-jose-fernandez.html

http://elsoldelaflorida.com/?p=221210

http://www.cubanet.org/articulos/el-futbol-vence-al-beisbol-en-los-cubanos/

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The Twins announced their Minor League managerial and coaching staff on Friday, with only one major change from last season.

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