"Gregg pioneered the position of late inning closer at a time when no one put their most talented pitcher in the bullpen. Not only was he the first, but it is arguable that he remains the best in the annals of college baseball. He was a two time First Team All-American, which was unprecedented for a closer, and he was the highest First Round draft pick ever for a college reliever. He was a totally dominant force who literally changed the strategies of our opponents due to his ability to shorten the game. In short Gregg changed the college game forever and the most appropriate accolade given him (in my opinion) was in 2000 when Baseball America named him the college closer of the century, which in effect means the greatest college closer of all time."

- Hal Baird, Head Coach
Auburn 1985-2000

News History About Contact Home



The Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports, is an honor to be presented to college baseball’s breakout player of the year. The annual award is given to a top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season. 

After a freshman season at Auburn filled with only mixed success, Gregg Olson became one of the top collegiate players in the nation during an outstanding, unprecedented sophomore season. Despite being omitted from any preseason All American lists, Olson went on to lead the entire nation in ERA with a 1.26 mark and compiled an incredible 11-1 record with 10 saves for the Tigers.

Following a summer pitching for the USA National Team where he lead the club in strikeouts, Olson returned to Auburn for another spectacular season. He led the SEC with a 2.00 ERA and amassed a triple-digit strikeout total, issuing 113 K’s in only 72 innings with only 27 walks. He finished his collegiate career with back-to-back First Team All American honors, a 25-7 record, 3.03 ERA, 20 saves, 271 strikeouts and redefined the way college coaches used their top pitcher.

Olson went on to be selected in the first round of the 1988 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles where he made an immediate impact. He won the 1989 American League Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the All Star team in just his second season in the major leagues. In a 14-year career as a reliever, Olson compiled 217 saves with a 40-39 record, 588 strikeouts, and a 3.46 ERA in 672 innings pitched.

The Olson Award has been developed to honor college baseball’s success stories and showcase players like Olson who have raised the level of their game through hard work, strength of mind and determination. Eligible players will be those who are omitted from major publication’s preseason All American prognostications; however by the end of the season their on the field performance will demonstrate that they are among the top amateur baseball players in the nation.