From the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame…
The Pine Ridge man, Olivder ‘Flop’ Garnier was picked as the outstanding baseball player in South Dakota for the 1900s by the Argus Leader during the state’s centennial in 1989.
Garnier had his best years in the late 1920s, when major league teams expressed an interest in him. In all, he played 51 seasons of town team baseball, mostly as a catcher, starting when he was 9 and ending when he was 60 in 1968.
Of his baseball memories, at the top was a game in Chadron, Neb., where Pine Ridge lost 2-1 to famed pitcher Satchel Paige’s traveling team “on an error in the ninth.’’
Garnier was one of the original organizers of the Sioux Trail amateur league. In 1927 he organized, managed and played for an all-Indian all-star team picked from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations.
When he was 30 in 1938, he batted .750 for a team in the Billings, Mont., league and his strong arm drew raves as he threw out potential base-stealers.
He batted .500 with Gordon, Neb., in 1939.
Seven years later he was still productive enough to play in the state amateur tournament in Watertown as a pickup player. Garnier said his fondest baseball recollections dealt with the youngsters he worked with in organizing Little League at Pine Ridge.
Garnier was a certified official in basketball and football for more than 50 years. At age 77, he reffed a football game in Pine Ridge. He also umpired Basin League baseball games in Pierre, Rapid City and Sturgis.
He played on the first Thorpe boys basketball team, known as the Oglala Indians. He hunted and trapped, was a saddle bronc rider and police officer and was a lifelong horse rancher.
Garnier is a member of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the Pine Ridge Reservation Hall of Fame.
In 1989, he was honored at the Lakota Nation Invitational basketball tourney for outstanding service to Lakota youth.