Larry Hisle - former major leaguer
"There is not doubt about it that Al got shortchanged
in the Hall of Fame vote. I don't think there is any way that
every player in the Hall of Fame was better than Al. I know
there is more taken into consideration than hits, lifetime average,
runs scored. He put together quite a career. I can't help but
think that if he would have played in a market like New York
or Los Angeles, voting would have been different. Because of
the markets he played in he didn't receive the recognition he
deserved. People in the game clearly knew that if you wanted
somebody in the batter's box to hit the ball hard...get Al Oliver."
"He, (AL Oliver), was such a great hitter. Richie
Zisk and Doc Medich who had known him in the past both told
me early in '78, "There might be guys who put up a better
average, say Rod Carew, or hit more home runs, or drive in
more runs, but absolutely nobody hits the ball as hard, day
after day, as much as he does."
In all my years since, I don't remember anybody who could
match him in terms of pure hitting. I still believe that he's
the best out-and-out pure hitter that I've ever seen. He used
to hit what was called , at'em'balls. He led the league every
year in at'em'balls. Line shots right at them."
"Al Oliver definitely deserves to be
in the Hall of Fame. What he's got 2,700 plus hits right?
Right away he's got to make some sort of short list of people
being considered. I'd like to hear some compelling reasons
as to why you wouldn't put him in there.
Richie Asburn is going in now and it took
a long while for him to get there. How many hits did he have?
Al was probably under appreciated in all his years in Pittsburgh
because he was an outfielder/first baseman who didn't hit
with a lot of power. People are used to guys in those positions
who hit 30 home runs. Al was usually a guy who hit 15-20 homers.
When you consider the fact that he was asked
to move around a lot, and because he did that, I think it
detracts a little from the Hall of Fame voting because they're
used to Hall of Fame candidates being "outfielders",
or "infielders" and Al played both because he was
agreeable to it. They would say, "Here's what we need
Al." and Al would say, "O. K."
To me Al's a Hall of Famer.."
"Al Oliver would be critcized because he did
not have a good throwing arm. He didn't throw well so you
might say he wasn't a complete ballplayer. A fellow who can
hit, run, hit with power, and have the desire to play...he
had it all. But he did have what you could classify as a weak
arm, but so did Richie Ashburn.
If you're in the media and you're looking
for a fault, I think that's something to fall back on, "A
guy can't run, " or "a guy can't throw," something
negative to keep him out. In my book Al Oliver belongs in
the Hall of Fame. When I think of him, I close my eyes and
think of three line drives in each game that he played."
Dusty Baker - Manager of the
"The media is of a white mind and a white attitude,
and their outlook on what's OK and what's not OK. But you can't
really worry about the media and how you are portrayed. One
thing about Al was that Al might have been portrayed as cocky,
but one thing they could never write about Al is that he mistreated
If you are strong and confident, people tend to gravitate toward
you and what happens is you end up getting a bad rap as far
as like telling the truth, and "stirring up the natives."
That's part of the reason that a lot of strong, confident guys
are run out of town"
He (Al) would never curse. He'd say, "Shoot." He sounded
like he was 15 years old.
"People thought he was so serious but this guy loved to
laugh. He could crack you up. Al appears so serious all the
time but he has a good heart, and he means well. He's one of
the few guys who, once he was out of the game, he stayed in
contact. Most guys when they're out of the game disappear. I
don't know if it's out of shame, anger, or bitterness. But Al,
he has a big, big heart."
Jim Fanning - Manager
of 1982 Montreal Expos
"You talk about a hitter! I've never, ever in
my life seen a man hit the ball so hard, so often. We all know
how many hits he got because that's all recorded. What isn't
recorded is all the line drives that were caught. He was a marvelous
hitter in 1982, a fantastic hitter. He hit left handers and
right handers. As a hitter, Al ranks up there with anybody.
The year I witnessed him, I never saw a better hitter in one
season. He hit everything on the nose, all the time."
Tom Henke - former major league player
"Al was one of the most
positive men I've ever been around. He always had signs up,
little positive sayings around. His influence was nothing
but a positive one on everybody. I don't think I ever heard
a negative word come out of his mouth.
Al contributed to the team not only with his leadership, but
he could still hit. He was a good ballplayer for us. Al got
a lot of hits for us, he got some big hits for us in the playoffs.
He was definitely instrumental in helping us win the division,
and although we lost, he had a real good series in the playoffs.
From what I saw there was no question he could still play
the game in '85, he could still contribute."
"Al was a good guy. Leo Durocher said, "Nice
guys finish last." Scoop was never into alchohol or drugs.
He was clean cut. They need people like him in the game, in
the front office.
I think the color of his skin might have something to do with
it. I'm from Panama; I don't have a problem with race. I like
everybody and that's in my heart. That's one of baseball's biggest
problems. You have to be two-faced to be in baseball and Al's
not like that.
"I have never seen anybody in my life, in the
eleven years in which I played in the major and minor leagues
hit more line drive outs than Al did. I think if half of those
outs fell in, we'd be talking about one of the greatest hitters
who ever lived."
"Scoop was a tremendous athlete, there's no question
about that. I thought that he would have some trouble out there,
because this is a new position for him. The one thing I did
notice was, although he was angry that he had to move away from
his favorite position, I think he took it upon himself to work
as hard as he could to make himself a good center fielder.
He was like Clemente in a way. He did not want to look bad out
there regardless, in any situation. So he worked his tail off
to become a very good center fielder.
"LIFE'S A HIT,
DON'T STRIKE OUT."
"I've always characterized
myself as LOW PROFILE, HIGH PERFORMANCE"
"There's no such thing as bragging, either
you're lying or you're telling the truth."
"Some people are afraid to take chances
in life, but I always say, failure is not fatal."
"For years I've always had the philosophy
that the cream always comes to the top, and naturally you
have some critics that say, what if it curdles? Well my answer
to that is, if you have talent, it does not curdle."
"I've learned through association, not
necessarily my own doing, that the best high in the world
is being high on life ."