06 April 2014

luis olmo, an unconventional dodger double dipper

to me, luis olmo was one of the players in the 1990 target dodger set that i knew nothing about.  to folks in the caribbean, and puerto rico in particular, he is one of the best known players of his time.  and, what the heck, i now consider him to be a dodger double dipper.

[this is the sixtyfifth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwithjamie hoffmannbabe hermanjoe medwickjuan castroron perranoskiclyde kingpaul wanerhughie jenningsron negray, broadway aleck smithgeorge smith, johnny cooney, jim faireyfrenchy bordagaraydoc casey, and waite hoyt.]

here is olmo's card from the 1990 target set
olmo was born in puerto rico in 1919, and debuted for the dodgers in 1943.  he hit .303 in 57 games that first season, and after a full season in 1944, went on to hit .313 in 141 games for the dodgers in 1945.  that same year, he led the league with 13 triples and also drove in 110 runs (3rd highest total in the league) and garnered some mvp votes as a result.  following that season, however, olmo opted to leave the dodger organization and go to the mexican league for a chance at a higher salary.

commissioner happy chandler wasn't pleased, and he suspended olmo and the other players who had also made the move from the major leagues.  eventually, olmo's eligibility was reinstated, and he rejoined the dodgers for the 1949 campaign.  he hit .305 in 38 games that season, and helped the dodgers win the pennant.  against the yankees in the world series, olmo hit .273 with a home run and 2 rbi, becoming the first puerto rican to play in the fall classic.  olmo spent the following two seasons he was with the boston braves after which he returned to the caribbean.

olmo won mvp honors in the 1951 caribbean series, while leading his team to the title.  he appeared in two other caribbean series, winning another title in 1955, and was enshrined into the caribbean baseball hall of fame in 2004.  olmo is still (hopefully) going strong at age 94.

here's to el jibaro, a dodger double dipper!

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