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Greg Olson

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Gregory William Olson

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[edit] Biographical Information

Catcher Greg Olson was signed as a 7th round pick in the 1982 amateur draft by the New York Mets and scout Terry Ryan. He grew up in Marshall, MN and Edina, MN, where he attended high school. He was converted from a third baseman to a catcher when he was at the University of Minnesota, playing alongside Terry Steinbach. He was stuck in the minor leagues for many years, spending 1984 to 1986 with the AA Jackson Mets and 1986 to 1988 with the AAA Tidewater Tides. On the verge of retirement, he signed instead with his hometown Minnesota Twins, who called him up for a short stint during the 1989 season.

He got his first major league hit off Bryan Harvey of the California Angels at the Metrodome. As he recalls, "I laced a pitch off the top of the left field Plexiglas. Angels left fielder Chili Davis played the carom perfectly, holding me to a single. Kirby Puckett, whom I knew from my days in the minors, liked to razz me that I hit the longest single in the history of the Metrodome." He was released after that season and signed with the Atlanta Braves. His big break was that teams started the 1990 season with a couple of extra players on their rosters because of the strike which had shortened spring training that year. Greg was the beneficiary, and got to catch Tom Glavine, who insisted to manager Russ Nixon that he wanted Olson to catch him going forward. He then went on a hot streak with the bat, to the point that, journeyman that he was, he was named to play in the 1990 All-Star Game. He was the regular catcher for the Braves when they went from "worst to first" in 1991 and faced his old team the Twins in the 1991 World Series. He played every inning of that seven-game series behind the plate, but the Braves fell just short of a championship. He played a couple more seasons with the Braves before washing out of the major leagues.

After his playing career ended, Greg managed the Minneapolis Loons of the independent North Central League in 1994.

Olson should not be confused with his contemporary, Gregg Olson, a pitcher, who also had the same middle name. The two were on opposite teams in the 1990 All-Star Game.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (1990)

[edit] Further Reading

  • Greg Olson: "Foreword", in Daniel R. Levitt, ed.: Short but Wondrous Summers: Baseball in the North Star State, The National Pastime, Volume 42 (2012), p. 5.

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