Baseball Digest Birthdays: Ben Oglivie

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Born on February 11th, 1949 in Colon, Panama and drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of Roosevelt High School in the Bronx, NY, Ben Oglivie spent four seasons in the minor leagues before reaching the major leagues in September of 1971. Despite the potential he showed in the minor leagues, Oglivie was relegated to part time status behind Carl Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith. Three years later, Oglivie was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Dick McAuliffe and over the course of the next four years developed into a solid power hitting outfielder.

Following the 1977 season Oglivie was traded again, this time to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jim Slaton and Rick Folkers. Installed as an every day player provided the opportunity to Ben Oglivie to develop into an key power hitter over the next decade with the Brew Crew. In 1979 Oglivie cranked 29 home runs at the age of 30, the highest total of his career to that point. The 1979 season was a sneak peak into his potential and the 1980 season was a breakthrough year for the outfielder.

In a September 1980 issue of Baseball Digest, Ray Fitzgerald of the Boston Globe wrote about Ben Oglivie’s success after being traded away from the Boston Red Sox. Click here to read the article!

In 156 games he slugged an American League leading 41 home runs(tied with Reggie Jackson), knocked in 118 runs, scored 94 times and was named to his first All-Star Game and won the only Gold Glove of his career. Two years later, Oglivie had another All-Star season by cranking 34 homers and driving in more than 100 runs for the second time in his career. The offensive output helped propel the Brewers to the postseason, where Oglivie launched home runs in the ALCS and the World Series.

The 1980-1982 seasons were the peak of Oglivie’s career, though he had occasional pop while playing with the Brewers through the 1986 season. Following the 1986 season he spent two seasons with the Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Japanese Baseball League and his final professional season with the now defunct Senior Professional Baseball Association. Since retiring as a player Oglivie has worked as a hitting coach with several organizations. For the 2011 season, Oglivie will serve as the hitting coach for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers Single A team.

Also Born Today:

Brian Daubach(b. 1972), logged eight seasons in the big leagues and may be best remembered for his time with the Boston Red Sox from 1999-2002 and briefly in 2004. With Boston in his first tour, he hit at least 20 homers in his four seasons. His streaky hitting, the perception of gritty play and the constantly changing facial hair earned him a title as one of the “Dirt Dogs” of the early 2000’s Red Sox squads. Since retirement, Daubach has toiled in the independent leagues as a manager and coach.

Jimmy Ryan(b, 1863) played eighteen seasons, mostly with the Chicago ballclub of the National League that changed names several times throughout his career. He holds the distinction for being the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle and pitch in the same game. He also led the NL in home runs during the 1888 season with 16. He died in October of 1923 at the age of 60.

Todd Benzinger(b,1963) played with five teams during a nine year career. His career began with the Boston Red Sox before he was included in the trade to the Cincinnati Reds that returned Nick Esasky and Rob Murphy to Boston. He was a member of the 1990 World Series Champion Reds.

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