- This article is about Gregg Olson, the pitcher, who must not be confused with Greg Olson, the catcher.
Greggory Olson (born October 11, 1966 in Scribner, Nebraska) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher who played with the Baltimore Orioles (1988-93), Atlanta Braves (1994), Cleveland Indians (1995), Kansas City Royals (1995, 1997), Detroit Tigers (1996), Houston Astros (1996), Minnesota Twins (1997), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-99) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2000-01). He batted and threw right-handed.
Olson used to come into save situations blowing people away with his 90-plus fastball and a devastating curveball. He was drafted by the Orioles in the 1st round (4th pick) of the 1988 amateur draft and made his debut late at the season.
In 1989, Olson became the first reliever to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. He also set a major league rookie record with 27 saves, and had a 5-2 mark with a 1.69 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 85 innings.
Selected an All-Star in 1990, Olson set a club record of 37 saves in that season and collected 31 and 36 in the next two seasons. In August 1993 he suffered a torn elbow ligament injury that sidelined him for the rest of the year. He finished with 29 saves and a a career low 1.60 ERA, but Baltimore opted not to take a risk with him and signed Lee Smith as their new closer. Olson struggled with a succession of injuries over the next years, playing for seven different teams from 1994-97.
In 1998, Olson enjoyed a fruitful comeback with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks. He set a franchise record of 30 saves (broken by Byung-Hyun Kim in 2002) and was also part of a rare feat. On May 28, with Arizona leading the San Francisco Giants 8-5, Olson began the bottom of the ninth inning by striking out Darryl Hamilton, but the Giants then loaded the bases with two walks and a hit before Stan Javier had an RBI grounder that made it 8-6. After pinch-hitter J.T. Snow walked to load the bases, manager Buck Showalter ordered Olson to intentionally walk Barry Bonds, forcing home a run, and bringing up Brent Mayne, who worked the count full before he lined to right field for the third out. Olson put together one of the weird saves imaginable, working around six walks in 1.1 innings. He threw 49 pitches (not counting the bases-loaded intentional walk) and only 22 of them were for strikes.
Olson was replaced by new closer Matt Mantei in 1999. He finished his career as a setup man for the Dodgers.
In a 14-year career, Olson compiled 217 saves with a 40-39 record, 588 strikeouts, and a 3.46 ERA in 672 innings pitched.
- Baseball Library (highlights)  (http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/O/Olson_Gregg.stm)
- Baseball Reference (statistics)  (http://www.baseball-reference.com/o/olsongr01.shtml)