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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Making Tony Oliva's case

All this talk about Ron Santo's Hall of Fame chances has the Minnesota Post's Steve Aschburner just a bit riled:
Hear, hear! Let's put yet another corner-outfielder-slash-DH into the Hall of Fame. Because, you know, there just aren't enough of them in there already.

As Dayn Perry pointed out Monday, there are 44 corner outfielders in the Hall of Fame ... and 10 third basemen. Don't those numbers seem just a little out of whack?

Oliva was, it should be said, a great player for eight years (1964-1971). But that's essentially his career. Before those eight years, he didn't play. After those eight years, he was hurt and didn't play well. If we're going to start electing players to the Hall of Fame with eight-year careers, I've got a list longer than your arm. Yes, he has drawn significant support from Hall of Fame voters in the past. Those Hall of Fame voters were misguided.

As for the Greatest Player Not in the Hall of Fame, I've got that list, too. It's distinguished by the presence of names like Bill Dahlen, Pete Rose, Bobby Grich, Tim Raines, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Roberto Alomar, Alan Trammell, and (yes) Ron Santo. I suppose Tony Oliva might be on that list, too, if my arm were a lot longer.

Meanwhile, Kirby Puckett's in the Hall of Fame. Sheesh. You'd think a Twins supporter would be happy with one short-career outfielder in Cooperstown.