Monday, April 18, 2011

A to Z, The Orioles' Legacy: Gregg Olson

Player: Gregg Olson
Years of Service: 6 (1988-93)
Position: Pitcher

Image via Mr. Irrelevant

Olson was the Orioles' closer during one of the most pathetic stretches in team history - not that it was his fault. When it's your job to lock down the ninth inning, you can't really be blamed for what happens in the previous eight. I remember them drafting him very clearly. It was 1988, the season of the notorious 0-21 start. The streak was mercifully over by the time the draft rolled around but O's fans were still excited about Olson, a thoroughly dominant pitcher in both high school and college. He had not one but two devastating strikeout pitches: a great fastball and one of the best curves in baseball. That sort of weaponry is ideal for a closer.

Olson was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1989, his first full season. He was the first reliever ever to win the award. Olson might have ranked among the all-time greats if not for injury trouble later in his career. 217 career saves is still pretty good.


For each letter of the A to Z Challenge, I will feature one player from Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns history. I hope you will join me. I hope you'll also check out the other 1200+ blogs participating. See the full list at Tossing It Out.

In particular, check out my new blogger friend at Wistful Nebulae.

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