2 new Hall of Famers excelled against the KC Royals

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Tony Oliva
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Minnesota’s Tony Oliva had an excellent career against the KC Royals.

When Tony Oliva stroked his last hit against Kansas City, an Aug. 3,1976 fifth-inning single off Marty Pattin in the final season of a storied career, injuries and age (38) had combined to make sure he no longer resembled the player whose bat would eventually get him into the Hall of Fame. He’d bow out after the campaign with a .211 average, by far the lowest of his career.

But that average doesn’t diminish the fine 92 games he played against the Royals over 15 years, a total cut short by the injuries that plagued him in his final campaigns. He hit .311 against Kansas City with a .357 OBP.

Oliva battered the Royals in 1974, hitting .389 in 15 games with a remarkable .443 OBP and a four-hit game and six two-hit games. He slashed .333/.357/.556 against them in 1971

And then there was 1969. Oliva had eight multi-hit games and a .342/.390/.566 line against the Royals. But it’s his performance in a June 29 Minnesota-KC doubleheader that stands out most.

Oliva had three singles in the first game, then went 5-for-5 in the nightcap with two home runs, a double, two singles and five RBIs to finish his day’s work 8-for-9.

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Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva are finally Hall of Famers, which comes as no surprise to the Royals.