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National Baseball Hall of Fame induction week
Former Minnesota Twins right fielder Tony Oliva waits for the start of induction ceremonies for National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar in Cooperstown, New York on July 24, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt
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Tony Pedro Oliva (born Antonio Oliva Lopez Hernandes Javique on July 20, 1938 in Pinar del Río, Cuba) is a former Major League Baseball right fielder who played his entire career in the American League for the Minnesota Twins from 1962 to 1976. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. His career was hampered by knee injuries, forcing him to become a designated hitter during his final four years of professional baseball.

Oliva was born in the Cuban province on Pinar Del Rio. He played baseball weekly with his father, brothers, and neighbors in a vacant lot near the Olivas' farm. Oliva's father, a former semi-professional player, instructed him, helping him become the best hitter in Pinar Del Rio. A scout for the Minnesota Twins noticed him and brought him to the United States to play professionally. He was reluctant to leave his mother, father, and nine siblings, but his father encouraged him to become "rich and famous" in America.

Oliva appeared in the Twins' final three spring training games, collecting seven hits in ten at bats. The Twins, however, had already filled their minor league rosters and released Oliva. Having nowhere else to go, Oliva traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to train with a friend who played for a Minnesota Twins Class A farm team. His quick wrists, long frame, and "unharnessed power" impressed Charlotte manager Paul Howser. Howser placed a call and convinced the Twins to re-sign Oliva. Many newspapers reported that the 21 year old Tony Oliva was actually his 18 year old brother Pedro Oliva. However, the name Tony stuck and Oliva continued using the name, even going as far to officially change his name to Tony Pedro Oliva in the late 1990s.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tony Oliva."
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