Oliva’s Orientation Visit brings back memories from a lifetime in baseball
“Can you believe it? I’m going to have a plaque here,” Oliva said.
On March 2, Oliva traveled to Cooperstown for his Orientation Visit, during which he toured the Museum, signed the plaque backer where his Hall of Fame plaque will eventually be hung and spoke with media in the Plaque Gallery.
Oliva, who will be inducted on July 24 along with the rest of the seven-member Class of 2022, was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee in December.
Hall of Famer Al Kaline was one of Oliva’s idols, so it was a special moment for him when he got a close look at the Detroit legend’s bat from the 1961 All-Star Game.
“In the American League, Al Kaline was my man,” said Oliva, who like Kaline played right field for one team during his entire career. “I wanted to play like him.”
Oliva’s tour concluded in the Plaque Gallery, where he stopped to pose with a few of his new Hall of Fame teammates, including Kaline and fellow Twins legend Harmon Killebrew.
“For me, this gentleman right here was too nice to be a baseball player,” Oliva said, gesturing to Killebrew’s plaque.
He then donned his Hall of Fame cap and jersey and signed the place where his plaque will soon be hung to make it official.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time – for 45 years,” Oliva said. “It’s never too late.”
Janey Murray is the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum