John Garrett Olerud (pronounced /ˈoʊləruːd/, born August 5, 1968; nicknamed Big Rude, and Johnny O), is a former American first baseman in Major League Baseball. Olerud played with the Toronto Blue Jays (1989–96), New York Mets (1997–99), Seattle Mariners (2000–2004), New York Yankees (2004) and Boston Red Sox (2005).
A three-time Gold Glove winner, he was an excellent defensive first baseman and part of Sports Illustrated's "Greatest Infield Ever" with Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordóñez, and Robin Ventura.
Washington State University
In 1987, Olerud hit .414 with 5 HR and 20 RBIs. As a pitcher, he went 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA and was a freshman All-American.
In 1988, Olerud hit .464 with 23 HR, 81 RBIs, 108 hits, 204 total bases, and a .876 Slugging percentage. As a pitcher, he had an undefeated 15-0 season, and threw 113 Ks with a 2.49 ERA. He was a consensus All-American as both 1B and Pitcher and Baseball America College Player of the Year.
In 1989, while recovering from a brain aneurysm, Olerud hit .359 with 5 HR and 30 RBI in 78 plate appearances. He threw for three wins, two losses, and a 6.68 ERA. He was a Pac-10 North All-League Designated Hitter.
In a 17-season career through 2005 spanning 2,234 games, Olerud posted a .398 on-base percentage, 500 doubles, 255 home runs, 1,275 walks, 1,408 runs created, 3,602 times on base, 96 sacrifice flies and 157 intentional walks. He was also hit by a pitch 88 times and grounded into 232 double plays during his career. He is also one of only 26 players to ever hit for the cycle multiple times in their careers.
Olerud jumped directly to the majors after a stellar career at Washington State University where he was a pitcher noted for his performance from 1987 to 1989. He was known for wearing a batting helmet in the field as a precaution since he had suffered a brain aneurysm while playing in college.
Olerud broke into MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989. He was platooned by Jays' manager Cito Gaston for the first few years of his career, until his breakout season in 1993, when he led the American League in batting average (.363), runs created (156), intentional walks (33), times on base (321), on-base percentage (.473), OPS (1.072), and doubles (54, also a career high), while posting career highs in home runs (24), RBI (107), runs (109), and hits (200). In 1993, he flirted with a .400 batting average for much of the season, with his average staying higher than .400 as late as August 24.
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