Bob Oliver, the father of Texas Ranger special assistant to the general manager Darren Oliver, and a former major league first baseman, has passed away, it was announced today. Oliver was 77.
Oliver signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the 1963 season, but appeared in just a couple of major league games for them before he was dealt to the Minnesota Twins in December, 1967, for Ron Kline. Oliver spent the 1968 season for the Twins’ AAA affiliate at Denver, then was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season.
Oliver spent the next three years with the Royals, and appeared on an MVP ballot in 1970, when he slashed .260/.309/.451 with 27 home runs and 99 RBIs, putting up 2.1 bWAR for the Royals. Oliver was dealt to the California Angels in May, 1972, for Tom Murphy, and did solid work for the Angels in 1972 and 1973 playing all four corners, as well as DH.
Oliver slumped in 1974, and ended up getting dealt in September, 1974, to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later and cash. The New York Yankees purchased Oliver that offseason, but released him in July, 1975, after he had appeared in just 18 games.
Oliver played in AAA in the Phillies’ system in 1976, in the Pirates’ system in 1977, and for the White Sox’s affiliate in 1978, as well as playing in the Mexican League in both 1978 and 1979 before hanging it up at the age of 36.
Bob’s son, Darren, of course, is the member of the family better known to baseball fans today. Darren was born in October, 1970, in Kansas City, where his father was then playing, and ended up being drafted in 1988, just ten years after his father quit playing. Darren had a 20 year career that included three stints with the Rangers, and is now a member of the front office.
Our condolences to the Oliver family on their loss.