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Reps. Jarrells, Pizzulli to Introduce Legislation Naming Part of State Route 125 after Al Oliver

August 24, 2023
Dontavius L. Jarrells News

COLUMBUS- State Representatives Dontavius L. Jarrells (D- Columbus) and Justin Pizzulli (R- Scioto County) have introduced legislation that will name a section of State Route 125, running through Scioto County, after a trailblazer for African American athletes everywhere, former professional baseball player and native Ohioan Al Oliver.

“I am humbled to be a part of this legislation honoring, not only a phenomenal baseball player, but an outstanding Ohioan,” said Rep. Jarrells. “Mr. Oliver’s dedication to his craft is both inspirational and commendable, but his contributions to our state are immeasurable. I hope that with the naming of this highway, future generations will have the chance to know and learn about the impact Mr. Oliver had on his community.”

A native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Al Oliver became a rising star in the MLB and an icon of American baseball from 1968 to 1985. He brought Ohioan tenacity and talent with him to every team and field he graced with his skill and sportsmanship. Oliver built a formidable reputation with a lifetime batting average of .303 and 2,743 hits, ranking him 58th on the MLB all-time hit list and in the top 15 among African American players.

“Mr. Oliver has made a significant impact as a leader in our local community, not to mention his career record is one of the best in baseball history,” said Rep. Pizzulli. “I had the opportunity to spend time with Mr. Oliver at a men’s prayer breakfast and I learned firsthand how much his Christian faith is truly the foundation upon which he has built his life. We hope that renaming part of State Route 125 after Mr. Al Oliver is a small way to honor the large mark he has made on our community and ensure that his legacy lives on forever.” 

After his career, Al has found a calling to the pulpit, and preaches at Beulah Baptist Church, serving as the chairman of the Deacon Board. He is still admired as a gifted servant, leader and valued figure in the Portsmouth and southeast Ohio community.

In 2013, Al Oliver was unanimously recognized and appointed as "Mr. Ambassador" for the City of Portsmouth in acknowledgment of his leadership and goodwill on behalf of the community. Mr. Oliver is portrayed on one of the Floodwall Murals in Portsmouth, Ohio, honoring local Major League Baseball players, scouts, and umpires.