Life is a Hit; Don’t Strike Out by Al Oliver (2014)
Life is a Hit; Don’t Strike Out
by Al Oliver
VIP Ink Publishing, 2014
An eighteen-year career, seven All-Star games, 2743 hits and a .303 batting average are impressive achievements, and many believe they are enough to warrant Hall of Fame induction for Al Oliver. Oliver’s autobiography Life is a Hit; Don’t Strike Out, gives an overview of the ballplayer’s life from a very young age to the present day. Oliver played from 1968-1985 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The book is poorly written with choppy sentences and numerous typographical errors that should have been corrected by an editor. It is difficult to follow the series of events as Oliver seems to jump around from subject to subject without much transition. There are several testimonials from former ballplayers (Pete Rose, Dave Parker, Andre Dawson), friends, and family members throughout supporting Oliver’s induction, or at least consideration, for the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, many of those testimonials could have used an editor’s guidance as well. The book ends with a short section dedicated to Oliver’s work with his local denominational church. Over 100 pages of black and white photographs are tacked on at the end; they are not arranged chronologically, and several are low-quality photos that should not have been included.
Oliver is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate who received less that 5% of the requisite support to remain on the ballot in his first year of eligibility. His induction would do no harm to the integrity of Cooperstown, but this book is unlikely to change the mind of those who might have the power to induct him.