Top-5 Blue Jays that deserved a longer Hall of Fame look
By Craig Borden
# 5 John Olerud
Best Ballot Year 0.7 %
Years on Ballot – 1
During the glory days it was a welcome site to see the smooth-swinging hit machine that was John Olerud in the line up every day. The left first baseman was drafted out of Washington state by the Blue Jays in 1989 and actually made his debut that season. After making it into 6 games in 1989 he would play in 111 during his rookie campaign. He would finish with a .265 batting average and collect 15 doubles, 14 homers, and 48 RBI. This was good enough for him to land 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1990. Ted Williams himself went on record saying if Olerud had some speed he could be as good as he was and hit .400 in a season.
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Olerud would go on to have a solid career with the Jays as he remained an extremely consistent bat in the center of a dominant lineup. He would peak at just the right time as he would lead the American league in batting average in 1993. Olerud would be 1 of 3 Jays in the batting title race in 1993, but he bested them all with a .363 clip.
He also managed to hit an A.L.-leading 54 doubles while collecting 24 long bombs and 107 RBI’s. This performance landed him 3rd in the AL MVP voting just behind future Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas. or you sabermetric fans, Olerud had the best WAR among the top 10 MVP candidates for the season. He had a 7.7 WAR where Thomas had a 6.2 and Molitor had a 5.7.
Olerud’s career resume includes a .295 batting average, 500 doubles, 255 home runs, 1230 RBIs, .471 SLG, and a .866 OPS. His career WAR over 17 seasons was 58. He was also a 2 time All-Star, won 3 Gold Gloves and a batting title.
Comparable players that got more consideration for the Hall of Fame were Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez. Mattingly is on his 15th ballot this year and Hernandez was on the ballot for 9 years before falling off. Their career numbers are all nearly identical. Olerud may have been over looked because he was not as flashy (or never happened to make appearances on Sienfeld), but is just as good of a ballplayer as some other players that got more then a glance.
Next: Coming in at number 4, Mr. Contact