Famous Quotes

From the “Late, Great” Willie Stargell

“The first time I met Al Oliver I was not sure who I was meeting… But from the initial conversation I had with him, I knew this young man had both feet on the ground, that he had come from a good background. I was impressed with Al before I ever saw him on the field.””When it came to hitting…all he ever did was crush the ball. Al was the perfect number three hitter because you knew he was going to make contact. You knew he was going to get on base.”

“When it all came down to the finish line, and you take a look at his credentials, you have to wonder why he’s not in the Hall of Fame. ”

“It was a treat to have him play next to me, and to have had the opportunity to play ball with him. I got to know him and everything just fell in place. I got to know what the “Real Al Oliver” was all about. Now that neither one of us are playing we’re still friends and that’s far greater than playing side-by-side. Our friendship will last a lifetime. I’m very happy to have gotten to know Al Oliver.”

From Andre Dawson

“Al, as a lifetime .300 hitter after 18 seasons, I feel is deserving (of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, sic). There is no question in my mind had he not been forced out of the game by collusion, had he been given an all out honest attempt to achieve 3,000 hits, he would have done it. He was pushed out of the game when he was still a .300 hitter. I feel he deserves a place in baseball today.”

From “Bump” Wills – former teammate with the Texas Ranges

“It’s uncanny and has yet to be explained. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat and thought about it. This man who has the stats he has, who’s accomplished what he has in this game still doesn’t get the recognition he justly deserves.

In my opinion there has not been a better hitter that I have played with, or that I’ve seen. I’ve seen the great ones coming up at a young age with the Dodger organization. Having been on the field and in the dugouts as a child seeing Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, and all the great players. Al Oliver ranks up there as a hitter with those guys.

I don’t understand what the lack of consideration for the Hall was about. If you see his stats, if you’ve seen him play, if you know the man, then there is no doubt that Al Oliver should be in the Hall of Fame. I think it boils down to personalities. People who didn’t take the time to know the man intricately passed judgment on him on certain things”

From Bill James – baseball writer

“I don’t think you could find a case where a black ballplayer has been denied support for the Hall of Fame when a white player with essentially the same credentials has drawn stronger support, or been put in. If there are such cases, I’m not aware of it. I do think, though, that the city in which a player performs affects some part of the voting. Al did not play in any “media centers.” It’s an injustice for him to be off the ballot. He shouldn’t be put in that category. It surprises me that he received so little support.”

From Dock Ellis

“Al was every bit as good a hitter as Clemente. He was a better hitter than Willie. Willie hit home runs. Willie could hit the ball, but he couldn’t hit the ball with the authority that Al did. Al’s not gonna say that but I will. He didn’t have the power that Willie had to pop the ball out of the ballpark, but he was a better hitter than Willie, and Willie was a good hitter too.”

From Phil Musik

“It’s ironic, the poignancy of Al being so close to 3,000 hits, which would have put him in the Hall of Fame, and him not getting it when you consider that he was capable of playing when he left the game. Al had a great career as a hitter, and to get so close is devilish. He quite possibly could have gotten 3,000 hits had the circumstances been different.”

From Bob Gibson – former major league player

“If your ‘re going to go by statistics you have to say, ‘Yeah he belongs in the Hall.’ I’m not sure how the media even goes about selecting people for the Hall of Fame. Obviously there are a lot of people in there that probably don’t belong, and there are some people not in who could possibly be in there. I’m not sure what the criteria is for selecting.

Al was a good hitter. He used to get quite a few hits off of me. I had a hard time striking Al out. I’d make good pitches on him and he’d nub the ball over the infield because he had a good eye. He was a tough out.”

From George Foster

“It’s a travesty for him (Al Oliver) to be left off the ballot when his stats are better than a lot of players still on the ballot. There’s no doubt that Al belongs in the Hall of Fame. He has the numbers. Nobody has stated exactly what numbers it takes to make the Hall of Fame, but look at the numbers he had compared to the numbers of some people already in there. Al should be there.”