ABOUT GREGG OLSON
Before attending Auburn, Gregg was an elite high school pitcher in Omaha, Nebraska where he compiled an astonishing perfect pitching record of 27-0 with a minuscule 0.76 ERA. While pitching under the tutelage of his father, Bill Olson, who was the head coach at Northwest High School, Gregg led his team to the state championships each season as a Husky. His pinnacle performance was in the state championship game of his senior year where he threw a no-hitter – his fourth as a prep star.
With offers from across the country Gregg choose to take to the mound at Auburn University. As a freshman Gregg has modest success but his final numbers weren’t up to the same high standards he had set for himself before going to college. He finished the year with a 7-3 record with an impressive 62 strikeouts in 78.2 innings, but also had an inflated 5.72 ERA while allowing 94 hits and 48 walks for a 1.81 WHIP. Gregg's final freshman statistics were far from indicitive of what he'd accomplish on the mound before his Tiger career was over.
His sophomore Gregg had a breakout performance and posted unprecedented numbers which made him one of college baseball’s elite players. He went an amazing 11-1 with 10 saves and despite playing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, he led the NCAA with a 1.26 ERA. Additionally he struck out more than a batter per inning, fanning 96 batsmen in just 78.1 innings on the hill. Not only was he unanimously named an All-American selection after the season, Gregg was also invited to play on the USA National Team where he was an instrumental member. While pitching for Team USA Gregg went 2-0 with two saves, a 3.53 ERA and a team leading 69 strikeouts.
Back on campus as a junior Gregg’s professional stock status continued to climb. He was once again named an All-American, the first and only time a player from Auburn has been named a repeat honoree. He once again led the SEC with a diminutive 2.00 ERA while posting a 7-3 record with 10 saves in 36 appearances. Gregg continued to develop his control and his knee-buckling curveball and increased his strikeout total to triple-digits, issuing 113 K’s in just 72 innings with only 27 walks allowed.
Following his junior season Gregg became Auburn's highest-ever draft pick when the Baltimore Orioles selected him fourth overall in the draft. His first full year as a professional Gregg had a dream season when he received 26 of 28 first place votes to run away with the American League Rookie of the Year; the first relief pitcher ever to win the award. His prolific numbers also garnished him consideration for the Cy Young and MVP awards as he earned 27 saves in 33 opportunities while pitching to a 1.69 ERA in 64 games for the Orioles who nearly won the AL East. In 1990 Gregg was named to the American League All-Star squad while en route to a then-club record 37 saves - the first of three straight seasons in which he saved more than 30 games. From August 4th, 1989 to May 4th, 1990 Gregg established the Baltimore club record with 41 consecutive scoreless innings pitched over 29 appearances, both of which are still Baltimore record. In 1991 Gregg got the final three outs in a combined no-hitter of the reigning AL Champion Oakland A’s which in which he had to retire three dangerous hitters in Dave Henderson, Jose Canseco and Harold Baines. In 1993 Greg was well was on his way to a fourth straight 30-save season while posting a career low 1.60 ERA when he suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow which ended his season and irrevocably hindered his career.
Baltimore didn’t resign Gregg after rehabbing from his injury, but he did go on to pitch for a total of seven different teams in a 14-year MLB career and in which he totaled 217 saves and compiled a 3.46 ERA. The highlights of his post-Baltimore years were a pair of seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 1988 set a then franchise record 30 saves and had a 3.01 ERA. He also interestingly hit a homerun in his final at bat of the season, which was his only MLB hit. In 1989 Gregg had a career high nine wins along with 14 saves as the Diamondbacks won 100 games and finished first in the NL West.
After his career both the Auburn Tigers and Baltimore Orioles honored Gregg for his accomplishments on the field. In 2008 Gregg was elected to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame and still holds the distinction as the Orioles all time saves leader with 160. In 2010 Gregg was a part of the inaugural class inducted into the Auburn Baseball Wall of Fame and had his name and picture included on the outfield wall of Plainsman Park along with other Auburn legends Tim Hudson, Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas.
Gregg Olson's Stats at Auburn: