Pittsburgh Pirates: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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24. player. 4. . 1B/CF. 1968-77. Al Oliver

When the topic of borderline Hall of Famers not already in Cooperstown comes up, I’ve heard the name Al Oliver mentioned on more than one occasion. His Pirates career only got things started. In those parts of 10 seasons with Pittsburgh, Oliver was an incredibly steady bat in the lineup. It’s quite clear why many who saw him play think so highly of him.

After four games in 1968, Oliver’s official rookie campaign took place in 1969. He was the Rookie of the Year runner-up with a .285/.333/.445 batting line and 17 home runs to help his case. Numbers like this were typical from Oliver throughout his time with the Pirates.

Oliver would go on to receive three All-Star selections while with the Pirates. He received MVP consideration five times with two seven-place finishes as the highlight. Overall numbers included 135 home runs and a .296/.335/.454 batting line.

Oliver was with the Pirates for the 1971 World Series victory, but unfortunately, left before they won again in 1979. He didn’t have any memorable postseason series. In six playoff series with the Pirates, he never finished with a batting average above .250.

The left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder doesn’t own any notable Pirates records for a single-season or career. He was, nevertheless, a presence in the lineup the team could rely on to bat around .300. Four times he finished with an average over .300. Every full season he played, Pittsburgh fans saw him hit at least 11 home runs and drive in 61 runs.