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Sports Then and Now



Mark Belanger: A Fielding Aficionado 13

Posted on April 15, 2012 by Dean Hybl
Mark Belanger

Mark Belanger

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Week for April is a former Major League shortstop who was never known for his offensive production, but was one of the best ever at fielding his position and was a key reason that his team was baseball’s best during his era.

Mark Belanger was such a valuable player for the Baltimore Orioles in the late 1960s and 1970s that he knocked a future Hall of Famer out of the Baltimore lineup and twice finished in the top 30 in the American League MVP despite hitting below .230 for the season.
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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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