Tony Oliva on his call to Hall of Fame: ‘It’s special for me’
Former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday by a pair of veterans committees.
Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, joined the two former Twins as well as Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso as Golden Era inductees.
Oliva and Kaat are the only living new members. Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election.
A three-time batting champion and eight-time All-Star, Oliva spent his entire 15-year career with the Twins from 1962-76. He was named the 1964 Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove in the outfield in ’66.
In 1,676 career games, Oliva batted .304/.353/.476 with 220 home runs, 947 RBI and 86 stolen bases.
Kaat spent 25 years in the big leagues and the first 15 with the franchise. From 1959-60 Kaat pitched for the Washington Senators before making the move with the club to Minnesota in 1961.
In those 15 seasons, Kaat racked up a 190-159 record, 3.34 ERA and 1,851 strikeouts. He finished his career with 283 wins, 180 complete games and a 3.45 ERA in 898 career outings (625 starts).
The 16-member Early Days and Golden Days committees met separately in Orlando, Florida. The election announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the big league winter meetings, which were nixed because of the MLB lockout.
The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. First-time candidates David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling on the ballot, with voting results on Jan. 25.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.