Sunday, November 3, 2013

1964 Topps #316 Gene Oliver

1964 Topps #316 Gene Oliver

It's easy to get overlooked when you play on a team with five hitters who finish with 20 or more homers- but that was the case for Gene Oliver during the 1964 season.

The right handed Oliver homered 13 times in only 298 plate appearances, or once every 23 plate appearances. That total tied Rico Carty for the team lead and was better than sluggers Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Torre, and Denis Menke- all of whom topped the twenty home run plateau.

Used primarily as a first-baseman, the one-time St. Louis catcher only appeared in one game behind the plate during the 1964 campaign (the final game of the season), and when he wasn't starting was often brought in off the bench as a pinch-hitter. He wasn't very effective in that role, however, as he went only 3-23 with one homer. Take away his weak .130/.160/.261 line as a  pinch-hitter, and his overall line looks much better.

Heating Up, Along with the Temperatures
Oliver's best month of the '64 season was during August, when he hit in thirteen of the seventeen games he appeared in. Gene posted a slash line of .385/.441/.615 in 52 at-bats, along with 3 homers and 14 RBI.

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