Baseball Hall of Famer Daniel Oliva
Early Life and Education
Oliva had signed his first contract in February 1961, giving him only weeks to prepare for spring training trip. Due to Antonio holding an active passport, the Twins allowed Oliva to use it for entry.
Although resembling a golfer, this young ballplayer displayed incredible talent when hitting baseballs. A journalist likened his strokes to those produced by Caruso singing, Paderewski playing piano or Heifetz drawing a bow across string.
Daniel is an expert on Latino/a literature and history. Together with poet Leon Salvatierra, he co-edited The New Oeste: Literatura Latinx of the American West in the 21st Century published by University of Nevada Press. Additionally, Daniel practices law in California.
Oliva had an outstanding big-league career, but his spectacular early-1960s rookie campaign stands out. His league-best batting average eclipsed that of both the runner-up and three other All-Stars combined; furthermore, he led all major circuit leagues in home runs, slugging percentage, and five additional offensive categories.
The Twins first, failed attempt to sign Oliva in 1961 was complicated by visa paperwork and further delayed when a Los Mochis resident duped him into borrowing his brother’s passport – nearly leading them down a path toward immediate dismissal from spring training; but ultimately he found an outlet through their Class-A Appalachian League affiliate in Wytheville and continued playing ball thereafter.
Achievement and Honors
Olivas was an outstanding performer in the American League from 1964-71, consistently leading his league in home runs, hits, and RBI each year. In 1965 he earned the American League Rookie of the Year Award thanks to a league-leading.323 average with 32 homers, 94 RBI, 217 hits in 217 at-bats; becoming the first player ever in baseball history to capture multiple batting titles during their debut year.
Bilingual Press of Arizona State University published his first short-story collection, Assumption and Other Stories, in 2003. Subsequent collections — Devil Talk: Stories and Anywhere but L.A.: Stories — followed by Olivas’s novel The Book of Want by University of Arizona Press in 2011. In addition, Olivas edited Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature (2008) for Tia Chucha Press which showcased sixty years of Los Angeles fiction as well as interviews with writers such as Daniel Alarcon, Luis Alberto Urrea Reyna Grande and Helena Maria Viramontes among many others.
Oliva has written four plays and numerous essays that have appeared in publications like the New York Times, LA Bloga and Jewish Journal. Currently he serves as Director, Accounting of Accurate Lock and Hardware.
His own memories from an unsuccessful first camp tryout (in which he hit seven out of ten plate appearances) was that race relations and limited roster spots in Minnesota’s low-level Class-A farm system conspired against his immediate professional debut as a journeyman Cuban.
The Twins quickly made amends the following season when they promoted Oliva to their top affiliate in the Appalachian League and watched him set rookie records in home runs, batting average, total bases and slugging percentage – becoming an attractive Gold Glove contender at right field.
Olivas boasts an estimated net worth of $1.5 million. He holds both a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Stanford University and law degrees from both universities in California. Since 1990, he has practiced law with the California Department of Justice as deputy attorney general.
Jane 1 testified that Oliva coerced her to orally copulate with him while living in Texas and North Carolina, continuing the practice when the family returned to Oceanside in March 2012. Additionally, Oliva vaginally penetrated her several times and placed objects into her mouth; including on occasions when Jane 1 was only 11 years old.
Oliva physically abused his children, too, including punching John, breaking his arm, and repeatedly kicking him in the thigh.