Joe Oliver
1988 Nashville Joe Oliver.jpg
Oliver with the Nashville Sounds in 1988
Catcher
Born: (1965-07-24) July 24, 1965 (age 56)
Memphis, Tennessee
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 15, 1989, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
October 6, 2001, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.247
Home runs102
Runs batted in476
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Melton Oliver (born July 24, 1965) is an American former professional baseball catcher and current manager of the Bluefield Ridge Runners of the Appalachian League, a collegiate summer league partner of Major League Baseball (MLB). During a 19-year professional playing career, Oliver played parts of 13 seasons in MLB for seven different teams during 1989–2001, and was a member of the World Series-winning 1990 Cincinnati Reds. He later managed in Minor League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox organization from 2014 through 2020. As a player, Oliver was listed at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and 215 pounds (98 kg); he batted and threw right-handed.

Early life and amateur career

Oliver was born in Memphis, Tennessee.

Oliver attended Boone High School in Orlando where he was teammates with Ron Karkovice.[1] In 1983, he was selected as the catcher on the ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Second Team only one year after Karkovice was named the catcher on the First Team.[2][3] He was inducted into Boone's hall of fame in 2004.[4]

Playing career

Oliver as a member of the Cincinnati Reds tags out Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros during a game at Riverfront Stadium on October 3, 1990
Oliver as a member of the Cincinnati Reds tags out Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros during a game at Riverfront Stadium on October 3, 1990

Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1983 MLB amateur draft, Oliver would make his Major League Baseball debut with Cincinnati on July 15, 1989, and appear in his final game on October 6, 2001. A relative rarity, in both his first and last at bats in those games, he got hits. He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm) tall and weighed 215 pounds (98 kg; 15.4 st). Oliver was a member of the Reds team that defeated the Oakland Athletics in the 1990 World Series. He drove in Billy Bates from second base in Game 2 of that series with a hit off Dennis Eckersley to win the game and propel the Reds to the title.

Oliver had a 13-season Major League career with the Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. In 1,076 games played—769 of them with the Reds—he amassed 831 hits, with 174 doubles and three triples to accompany his 102 career home runs. In 1992, he led National League catchers in games caught, putouts and range factor. He was the NL player of the week August 16th, 1992. He also led NL backstops in fielding percentage in 1990. [5]

Managing career

On January 31, 2014, ESPN reported via his agent, Burton Rocks, that Oliver returned from a 13-year absence from professional baseball to manage the Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox' Short-Season Class A affiliate in the New York–Penn League. Oliver took over from Bruce Crabbe, who joined the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in a coaching capacity.[6]

In two seasons at Lowell (2014–2015), Oliver led the Spinners to a 74–77 (.490) record; he was promoted to manager of the Class A-Advanced Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League for 2016 during the off-season.[7] During his first season in Salem, his club posted the Carolina League's best record (87–52, .626), but the team fell in the opening round of the playoffs to the eventual league champions, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, two games to one. Oliver remained with Salem through the 2018 season.[8] Oliver's overall managerial record for the 2014–2018 period was 297–270 (.524).

Oliver was promoted to manager of the Portland Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League for 2019;[9] the team played to a 62–77 record. He was named to return as manager for 2020,[10] but the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2021, following MLB's realignment of the minor leagues, which resulted in a reduced number of teams, Oliver was not included in Boston's minor league managerial assignments.[11]

In March 2021, it was announced that Oliver would manage the newly formed Bluefield Ridge Runners, a collegiate summer team in the Appalachian League.[12]

Personal life

In the 1990s, Oliver was an early investor in Stix Baseball, a baseball bat manufacturer which was eventually bought by Easton.[13]

Oliver resides in Orlando, Florida, and until 2014 coached the varsity baseball team at Bishop Moore Catholic High School. He and his wife, Kim, have four children: Dejai, Karrah, Gavin, and Lauryl.

References

  1. ^ Badger, Emily (July 6, 2004). "Karkovice Also in Restaurant Business". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  2. ^ "1982 ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Teams". www.abca.org. American Baseball Coaches Association. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  3. ^ "1983 ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Teams". www.abca.org. American Baseball Coaches Association. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  4. ^ Buchalter, Bill (February 12, 2004). "Boone to Induct 14 in Hall". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Joe Oliver Stats".
  6. ^ milb.com
  7. ^ Abraham, Peter (November 11, 2015). "Red Sox notebook: Minor league changes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  8. ^ "Red Sox announce minor league field staffs for 2018". Boston Red Sox official website. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  9. ^ MLB.com, Red Sox Set Minor League, Player Development Staff. (10 January 2019)
  10. ^ "Red Sox announce personnel moves in player development and Minor League field staffs". mlb.com (Press release). Boston Red Sox. January 16, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  11. ^ "Red Sox announce personnel moves in player development and Minor League field staffs". MLB.com (Press release). Boston Red Sox. January 29, 2021. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  12. ^ "Bluefield announces Joe Oliver as manager". MLB.com. Bluefield Ridge Runners. March 18, 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  13. ^ Byrd, Alan (May 3, 1999). "Easton steps up to plate, buys bat biz". Orlando Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 10 January 2022.

Preceded byBruce Crabbe Lowell Spinners manager 2014–2015 Succeeded byIggy Suarez Preceded byCarlos Febles Salem Red Sox manager 2016–2018 Succeeded byCorey Wimberly Preceded byDarren Fenster Portland Sea Dogs manager 2019–2020 Succeeded byCorey Wimberly