Minnesota Twins: The 40 Best Players In Team History (No. 6-10)
No. 7: Tony Oliva (43.0 WAR)
Tony Oliva may be one of the most underappreciated players to ever play the game. He is widely considered one of the best players to not be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the numbers show he should be. If not for injuries, he may have been a shoo-in.
Oliva was an eight-time American League All-Star during his fifteen year career (wholly spent with the Twins). He was a .304 career hitter, good for sixth in Minnesota Twins history. He is in the top ten in almost every offensive category in Twins history.
Oliva was a valuable part of the first magical Twins season in 1965 when they won the American League pennant, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. Oliva was an All-Star and finished second in the MVP voting that year. It was also one of five years he would record 5.0 or more wins above replacement.
His best season, according to the WAR statistic, was in 1970 when he accumulated 7.0 wins above replacement. That season he was an All-Star, was second in MVP voting, hit .325 and had 23 home runs to go along with 107 runs batted in. The next season would see him hit for his career-best average, .337, before the decline from injuries started.
Tony Oliva is remembered as one of the greatest Twins in history. His production during the era he played in was some of the best in baseball. He was one of the first Minnesota Twins superstars and his value statistics show his place in Twins history is justified.