“I am so honored to be part of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. It shows how many great athletes are from the Sacramento area. I am proud to be from Sacramento and especially proud to be from Rio Linda.”
Major League Baseball
High School: Rio Linda
* MLB Career: 21 Years: (Texas, St. Louis, Boston, Colorado, Florida, Houston,
New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto)
* 118 Career Wins
* 1,259 Career Strikeouts
* First Pitcher of Record in MLB Interleague Play
Darren Oliver was born in Kansas City while his dad, Bob Oliver, was playing and hitting home runs for the Royals. He is another of our second generation players that Sacramento is famous for. With baseball in his blood, Darren grew up around the game and learned many life lessons while traveling across the globe. He was living in Anaheim when his dad’s career ended, and in 1986 he moved to Rio Linda. Darren attended Rio Linda High School for three years where he played basketball and baseball. He was an all All-City pitcher with a blazing fastball around 90 miles per hour. Darren originally planned to go to college and signed a letter of intent to play at UNLV, but plans changed when he was drafted.
He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball Draft. In the minors, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was his catcher. He didn’t speak English and Darren didn’t speak Spanish. While in the minor leagues, he injured his arm and had to have Tommy John surgery. At that point, he thought his career was over before it even began. He came back home to Sacramento to rehab and decided to go to school at American River College. After intensive rehab, conditioning and technique adjustments, Darren thought he would give the major leagues one more shot. In 1993, he was called up and on September 1st he made his major league debut at Fenway Park in Boston at the age of 22. In 1996, Darren became part of the starting rotation and won 14 games for the Rangers; who made the playoffs and won their first American League Western Division title in franchise history. Darren started the pivotal Game 3 of the series against the New York Yankees. In 1997, Darren had the distinction of pitching in the very first interleague game. He was the starting pitcher as Texas played San Francisco, and is credited with throwing the first pitch in the history of Interleague play. He pitched for the Rangers until 1998 and then was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
As a Cardinal, he was the starting and winning pitcher in one of the most famous games in baseball history. In that game, on September 7, 1998, Mark McGwire hit his record-tying 61st home run of the season. He had a great career with the Cardinals and pitched with them until 1999. After two seasons in St. Louis, Darren returned to Texas where he pitched for two more years. He then made stops in Boston, Colorado, Florida, Houston and New York (Mets) in successive years. In Houston, he was part of an elite pitching staff including Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt that went to the playoffs and were one game away from the World Series. He made his way back to Anaheim and played for the Angels for three years; playing a key role in their playoff runs while winning their division each of those seasons.
Darren was able to return to his original team for the third time in 2010, making it a special time for him. They won the American League Pennant by defeating the New York Yankees and appeared in their first World Series in franchise history. Darren was a key contributor, but the Rangers eventually lost to the Giants in five games.
In all, Darren played for nine different organizations and was always a valuable and dependable pitcher. He was one of the most reliable left handed pitchers the game has ever seen: both as a starter and a reliever. Because of his incredible durability and effectiveness he was able to play until he was 43 years old. Darren is one of the most experienced veteran pitchers in Major League Baseball history: playing for 21 seasons, compiling 118 wins with 1,259 strikeouts in his career. He has been in so many crucial situations in late inning games in both the regular season and playoff encounters.
Darren has never left the game of baseball as he is now on the business side of things. He resides in Texas with his wife and two children and is currently working in the front office with the Texas Rangers as a Special Assistant to the General Manager. Darren will always be known for his longevity and dependability while doing it as one of the classiest and professional baseball players of his time. His accomplishments and character explain why he is one of our finest pitchers and human beings from our area.