Mar 21, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; A general view of the official major league baseball prior to the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
John Olerud, known as the first baseman with the hardhat, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round of the 1989 draft out of Washington State University.
Olerud succeeded early in his career with the Jays, earning a September call-up in 1989 and broke out next season before becoming a mainstay on the right corner of the Blue Jays infield for the next seven seasons.
His biggest year, ironically coinciding with the Jays biggest in franchise history, was 1993 where he won the batting title with a .363/.473/.599 slash and whopping 8.1 WAR. In typical MVP voting fashion, Olerud was shortchanged finishing third among the American League for most valuable player.
After the 1996 season, with prospect banging on the door for first base, the Jays elected to trade away Olerud to the Mets where he combined for 18.3 WAR over his three seasons in the Big Apple.
He split the remainder of his 17 year career with the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox, retiring with 500 doubles, 255 home runs and a combined 57.3 WAR.
While he too was an exceptional player even outside of Toronto, who knows if Toronto could have claimed back-to-back World Series titles in ’93/’94 without the stable presence of John Olerud.