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John Olerud

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Note: This page links to John Olerud, the major league first baseman. For his father, the minor league catcher, see John E. Olerud.
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John Garrett Olerud

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[edit] Biographical Information

John Olerud had two spectacular seasons in a career that was otherwise above-average but not that noteworthy. In 1993, while with the Toronto Blue Jays, he hit .363 to lead the American League. He also had 114 walks to lead the league in on-base percentage, and led the league with 54 doubles as well. All three performances were far above what he had previously done. After that, he went back to being above-average but relatively ordinary until 1998, with the New York Mets, when he hit .354 with 96 walks. His batting average and on-base percentage were second in the National League.

In general, he usually hit around .280 or .290 (his lifetime batting average was .295). He had very good ability at hitting doubles, with exactly 500 lifetime (57th all-time), and hit some homers also, with 255 lifetime. He drew a lot of walks, with his 1,275 lifetime walks placing him 46th on the all-time list. Defensively, he won three Gold Gloves.

He was a regular on the great 2001 Seattle Mariners team that won 116 games. He hit .302 with 21 home runs, each of which was fourth best on the team.

He was the second player in major league history to hit for the cycle in both leagues, following Bob Watson. He first accomplished the feat with the Mets on September 11, 1997, and repeated it with the Mariners on June 16, 2001. Michael Cuddyer later joined that exclusive club.

The most similar players to Olerud, based on the similarity scores method, are Will Clark and Edgar Martinez. He played defense at first base while wearing a catcher's helmet because, as a teenager, he had a brain aneurysm. He retired following the 2005 season, which he played with the Boston Red Sox.

Olerud is the son of John E. Olerud, a minor league catcher for seven years, and a cousin of infielder Dale Sveum.

Olerud was the only member of the pitching staff of the Silver Medal-winning Team USA in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup to make the majors - only he obviously made it as a position player. Olerud was 2-0 with a save and a 3.94 ERA in the Cup, one of only two US players with a record above .500. He allowed 16 hits in 15 innings, struck out 12 and walked 6 in his 6 relief stints, tied for the team lead.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time AL All-Star (1993 & 2001)
  • 3-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2000, 2002 & 2003)
  • AL Batting Average Leader (1993)
  • AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1993)
  • AL OPS Leader (1993)
  • AL Doubles Leader (1993)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1993, 1997, 1998, 2001 & 2002)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1993, 1997, 2000 & 2002)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1993 & 1999)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1993)
  • Won two World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays (1992 & 1993)

[edit] Further Reading

  • Rick Sorci: "Baseball Profile: First baseman John Olerud", Baseball Digest, May 1994, p. 55. [1]

[edit] Related Sites

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