Nov. 30, 2010
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - John Olerud, the NCAA Player of the Year in 1988 while at Washington State University, is on the Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.
Olerud is one of 19 newcomers and joins 14 holdovers all seeking a vote on 75 percent of the ballots in order to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The results of the vote will be announced, Jan. 5, 2011 and the induction weekend in Cooperstown is July 22-25 with the induction ceremony taking place, July 24.
Candidates who receive between five and 74.9 percent of the vote will return to the BBWAA ballot in 2012 unless they have exhausted their 15-year eligibility. Candidates who receive fewer than five percent of the vote will no longer be eligible for BBWAA Hall of Fame election.
The complete ballot includes Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.
Olerud was a pitcher/first baseman for Washington State from 1987-89. He was 15-0 on the mound with a 2.49 ERA, 1.133 WHIP, 113 strikeouts and a Cougar single-season record 122 2/3 innings pitched in 1988. In addition, he batted a school-record .464, including a WSU single-season record 108 hits, tied the Cougar standard with 81 RBI, and added 23 home runs, 21 doubles and 83 runs scored. He was a First Team All-American to go along with his National Player of the Year Award.
If elected, Cooperstown would not be the first hall of fame to house the name John Olerud. The 17-year Major Leaguer is a member of the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2002, joining his father John who was a 1986 inductee, and a member of the College Baseball Foundation Hall of Fame, Class of 2007, along with legendary Cougar Head Coach Chuck "Bobo" Brayton.
Olerud's name is on the award presented annually to the top hitter at Washington State as well as an award presented by the College Baseball Foundation to the top two-way player in the country.
Born in Seattle, Olerud did not play in the minors prior to making his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, Sept. 3, 1989; just eight days after signing with Toronto. The Blue Jays selected him in the third round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He batted .295 with 768 extra-base hits and 1,230 RBI in his career.
He was fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1990 and led the AL in batting average (.363), on-base percentage (.473), OPS (1.072) and doubles (54) in 1993. He won three Gold Glove Awards at first base for the Seattle Mariners (2000, 2002, 2003). He was a two-time All-Star (1993, 2001) and ranks 13th all-time among first basemen with a .995 fielding percentage. He was a member of two World Series champion teams (1992, 1993) with Toronto and appeared in the postseason everywhere he played (1991-93, Toronto; 1999, New York Mets; 2000-01, Seattle; 2004, New York Yankees; and 2005, Boston Red Sox). He batted .278 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in the postseason. Olerud won the 1993 MLB Hutch Award presently annually to an active player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win.