PDT Staff Writer
Local efforts are underway to get people to sign an online petition to place Portsmouth native and Pittsburgh Pirates great Al Oliver in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Oliver is best-known for being on the 1971 World Series winning Pittsburgh team that included Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Manny Sanguillen, among others. Oliver also won the National League batting title in 1982, hitting at a .331 clip.
Repeated attempts to gain admission to the ultimate spot for Major League players have failed, and most recently, Ohio Governor John Kasich took it on his own shoulders to attempt to get the Hall of Fame to add Oliver to its walls. Kasich wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame committee highlighting Oliver’s statistics. Those statistics are available at www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/oliveal01.shtml.
“First of all I have to give the governor credit for following up on what he said,” Oliver said. “Because in this life, you meet people who promise you a lot of things, but they don’t come through. So I have to tip my cap to him for following up. The common thing we have going for us is the Pittsburgh connection, and I know people that he knew in McKees Rocks (PA) where he’s from. Some of my best friends are from the same place that he’s from. And I feel honored about it.”
On April 22, 2013, the Portsmouth City Council unanimously passed a resolution recognizing and appointing Al Oliver as “Mr. Ambassador” for the City of Portsmouth in recognition of his various efforts on behalf of the community and southern Ohio. Oliver is a 1964 graduate of Portsmouth High School.
There is an online petition at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-al-olivers-candidacy-for-the-national.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.