Rating the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

My rankings of the greatest baseball players ever, starting with number 1, in order.

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Saturday, July 02, 2005
 
Number 188: John Olerud

He was a star as a pitcher and hitter in college, but was drafted as a hitter by Toronto in the 3rd round of the 1989 draft. He never went to the minors, but was 3-for-8 after signing late in the season. He was a platoon regular in 1990 and hit .265 with 14 home runs. He was at about that level the first few years, decent average, some power, lots of walks, and excellent defense. The Jays made the playoffs in 1991, then won the Series in 1992 as Olerud hit .284 on the season and over .300 in the posteseason. In 1993 he exploded on the league, leading the AL with a .363 average and 1092 OPS, and deserved an MVP award that Frank Thomas won unanimously. The team won another Series that year, but had less success in the next few years, and Olerud was traded to the Mets for Robert Person after the 1996 season.

Olerud hit .294 with 102 RBI his first year in New York, then .354 his next season. After another strong season in 1999 and another postseason appearence, Olerud became a free agent and signed with his hometown Seattle Mariners. He put in four and one-half years and two more postseason appearances there, before finishing up with the Yankees and Red Sox. Olerud has two World Series rings and put up some excellent offensive numbers, but they don't look that big given the era. He was not a home run hitter but a good average guy who draws about 100 walks a year. He also played excellent defense. He has been an excellent player in the style of Will Clark and Keith Hernandez, and may be the greatest non-slugging first baseman ever.

Olerud has earned 143.12 ratings points.

Olerud's stats: .295 average, 255 HR, 2239 hits, 500 doubles, 1230 RBI, 3 Gold Gloves.