Dec. 20.09: On This Date ….

It happened today ....

It happened today ....

In Mets history, in 1996, the Mets acquired first baseman John Olerud from Toronto for pitcher Robert Person. The Blue Jays were forced to make the deal because they needed a spot for Joe Carter.

I saw Olerud play a lot when I covered the Orioles and Yankees. He was one of the more soft-spoken players I’ve dealt with, but he sure did have a sweet swing. And, with him at first, the Mets had one of the finest fielding infields in the game.

Any memories of Olerud?

11 thoughts on “Dec. 20.09: On This Date ….

  1. One of the best Met trades! Person did have some pretty good years for the Phillies tho. But why did the Jays need to find a spot for Joe Carter? Wasn’t he on the Blue Jays for years before this trade? Wasn’t it more likely they needed to make room at first base for a kid named Carlos Delgado who was being used primarily at DH?

  2. John (2) What I remember about John Olerud is that he played first base – a target position – wearing a batting helmet at all times, protecting him from another serious injury – a concussion – that he had recovered from.

    Yes, he did have a ‘sweet swing’ which seemed to produce home runs effortlessly, when needed, and he had a personality which charmed us – especially those with the same heritage.

    I seem remember that he commuted to Shea often via the subway from Manhattan, and also that there was some confusion in the Mets Management about his renewing his contract, although later he said, he would have agreed to less. I’m not that clear on the money stuff, but that sounds very Olerud-like.

    He comes to the Yankees Old Timers Games where he is one of the most popular returnees even though he only played one season for them.

    One of baseball’s memorable good guys.

  3. Ah, so good to have something to talk about besides Bay. This was the one good thing that was done on Mcilvanes watch. Olerud was coming off a bad year so we were able to get him cheap though person was a prospect with a 95 mph fastball. I most remember his monster 1998 season when he tore up the league with a BA around .350 and strong power numbers. I also remember idiot Phillips letting him walk.

  4. I miss John O. He was a good hitter and an excellent first baseman. Keith was better, but he was good and they should never have let him go.

    They have regretted it.

  5. I thought Olerud wanted to go home to the Northwest…. Maybe my memory is wrong but that’s what I remember about losing him.

  6. dave (5): Sometimes it’s not just the stars that are missed when they leave. Olerud was a solid player in a lot of ways. He made his team better.-JD

  7. john(8)

    i agree. he was a patient hitter and good in the clutch. delgado was the last 1b i remember who was a good avg hitter and good in the clutch. not as good in the field obviously, but when olerud left there was a large void for some time.