Monday, April 30, 2012

Random Blue Jay Monday: '93 Donruss John Olerud

Mondays have definitely changed for me on the blog, because for some reason I always had trouble thinking of blog posts on a Monday.  Now that I've got a plan in place to post about a random Jays card each Monday, the pressure is off.

The card that was selected this week by the randomizer (yes, I use to select the "number" of the card to write about) was the 1993 Donruss John Olerud card #483.

checking for signs...shouldn't he be looking in the stands?

I loved watching John Olerud play.  I loved watching him swing the bat, and play first base.  The guy could flat out hit, and it's ironic that the card that came up was from '93, when he had his career year with the Jays.

.363 average (was hitting .402 on August 1st, then faded as the dog days hit)
54 doubles
24 HR, 107 RBI
114 walks, 33 of them intentional
1.072 OPS
3rd in MVP voting behind Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor (his teammate in Toronto)
8.2 WAR (2nd only to some guy named Griffey in the AL among position players)

I remember the summer of '93, it was fun to watch.  The Jays were World Series champs, and the whole team was running like a well oiled machine.  The offense was so good they were only shut out once during the entire season.  Olerud was in the center of it all.  He hit 4th for the majority of the season, and for the first time in Jays history, their announcers got to talk about Ted Williams and that magic .400 number.

What I didn't care for was the stigma that was attached to Olerud.  Those 24 HRs were a career high, and even though he had a great season hitting wise, the "power" numbers still weren't there.  All that talk ate at him, I'm sure of it.   John missed a third of the 94 season, and then 95 and 96 weren't up to the standard he set in 93, so he was traded to the Mets for Robert Person (6.18 ERA and 8 wins for 3 years for the Jays, yikes).  Part of the reason that trade happened was that the Jays had a catcher in the minors that they were going to convert to 1st base that would put up those power numbers for a long time...Carlos Delgado.  (Delgado had actually spent parts of the 94&95 seasons with the big club)

John Olerud will always be my reminder that not all 1st basemen follow the script of a "traditional" power hitting, high strikeout player. If another player of that type happens upon the Jays again in my lifetime, you can be sure he'll have my support.

Thanks for reading, Robert

1 comment:

  1. This was also a stigma that Mark Grace had to bear through his playing years, as well as Keith Hernendez.