John Olerud, the former Met and personal favorite of many on this site, is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, the results of which will be announced on January 5, 2011. From 1997 to 1999, Olerud compiled one of the best three-year stretches of any player in franchise history*, while his smooth stroke, slick glove, and placid demeanor endeared him to fans who consider that '99 team as memorable as any (our own Matthew Callan is one such fan).
* Perhaps bested only by Carlos Beltran's run of baseball omnipotence from 2006 to 2008 when he compiled 20.8 Wins Above Replacement.
We've covered Olerud's case already. In last year's Amazin' Avenue Annual, Alex took measure of the Hall of Fame cases of Olerud and Robin Ventura, concluding:
And you know what? Olerud will be lucky to get as many votes in 2011 as Ventura did in 2010. Next year’s ballot will be loaded: Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, and Bert Blyleven will return, and Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Kevin Brown, and Juan Gonzalez will be among the first-year eligibles. Olerud is certain to get lost in the buzz. And Olerud, like Robin Ventura before him, isn’t a Hall of Famer. But almost none of the voters will even ask the question; most have already assumed he isn’t one. Then he’ll fall off the ballot, and they’ll never get the chance to ask the question again. And that’s a pity.
James similarly examined Olerud's ledger of accomplishments last year and found that they came up a bit short:
Olerud's Best Infield Ever brethren Robin Ventura had a similar career in terms of value and longevity. Ventura was on this year's ballot and only received 1.3% of the vote. Similar results for Johnny O. are expected, and there's no reason to be upset about that. He's probably a small tick below borderline and if not for the glut of awesome first baseman in the 1990's, serious consideration would probably be warranted. A vote for Olerud next year would come mostly from the subjective heart and not the objective brain. If nothing else, his inclusion on the ballot will bring some warranted attention to a player who deserved it but never desired it.
Jack Moore of FanGraphs found in favor of Olerud:
Now, I can certainly understand leaving Olerud out if you are a "small hall" person. However, if you are a big or medium hall person, and would vote for players like Andre Dawson as well as Billy Williams, Tony Perez, and Luis Aparicio, then Olerud is also a Hall of Famer. He was one of the most talented players of his era at getting on base and at fielding his position, and he did both well for an extended period of time. In my eyes, John Olerud is a Hall of Famer.
And earlier today, ESPN columnist and my brother from a different mother Mark Simon explained his internal (read: not real) ESPN ballot and compared Olerud to another Hall-worthy Mets first baseman, Keith Hernandez:
That same window is likely to close quickly on Olerud given that this year’s candidate field is crowded with worthy potential inductees. Some voters are having a hard time limiting their choices to just 10 and the likelihood is that Olerud won’t get the five percent necessary to be on next year’s ballot.
But they’re assured of at least one vote in our Hall of Fame voting. My window of opportunity is forever open to both of them.
I'll open this one to the floor: Is John Olerud a Hall of Famer?