As Major League Baseball teams and scouts poured more resources into Latin America and the Carribean, a right-handed catcher named Miguel Olivo popped up in the Dominican Republic.
The Oakland Athletics signed Olivo in 1996, just before Billy Beane took over as Oakland’s general manager. Baseball minds loved the catcher’s defensive upside.
His time on the Bay got cut short when Beane dealt him to the White Sox for Chad Bradford. The pitcher, famous for his submarine delivery, played an integral role in Beane’s “Moneyball” strategy.
While Bradford enjoyed a solid career in Oakland, Olivo’s got off to an interesting start in the White Sox system.
The Southern League (AA) levied a six-game suspension on Olivo for using a corked bat. Olivo then turned around and blamed his old club, the A’s, since the bat had the team logo on it.
His ho-hum .237 batting average in 2003 with Chicago got him traded to Seattle where his numbers continued to nosedive for good. Here’s a fun one: in 2011 Olivo had the lowest walk rate for batters with more than 300 at bats, walking in just 2.2% of his plate appearances. Take a second to consider how bad that is.
Worst part was, that season wasn’t the first time he’d shown impatience at the plate as detailed in Dylan Jenkins’ If He’d Only Walked (Away): The Miguel Olivo Story.
In 2007, Olivo showed more character flaws when his jawing back and forth with Jose Reyes turned into this.
The final nail in Olivo’s MLB coffin came last season when he literally bit a teammate’s ear a la Mike Tyson.
Read that section that talks about his .368 batting average and 1.013 OPS, which was certainly enough to get him called up to, his then parent club, Dodgers. BUT WAIT.
In spring training of the same season, a reporter asked Olivo what he would do if he didn’t play baseball. Check out his response.
Now he’s in Mexico, which for some reason is hysterical.
I don’t want to draw too many correlations between almost sub-zero patience at the plate and brawls with third basemen from your native country/ear biting, but…
Happy Birthday, Miguel Olivo-Tyson.