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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
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AUBURN, Ala. – College Baseball Lineup has created the Gregg Olson Award, an honor to be presented to college baseball's breakout player of the year.
The to-be annual award will be given to a top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season. Olson lettered at Auburn from 1986-88 and is the school's only two-time All-America selection.
As a freshman he was 7-3 with a 5.72 ERA in 19 appearances (14 starts) before being turned into one of the top relievers in college baseball history his sophomore year. In 1987 he was 11-1 with 10 saves and a 1.26 ERA in 42 relief appearances while in 1988 he was 7-3 with 10 saves and a 2.00 ERA, striking out 113.
His 20 career saves rank tied for fourth in Auburn history while his 271 career strike outs are sixth. His .781 winning percentage (25-7) is also fifth all-time in Auburn history.
"I was very pleased to hear that an annual college baseball award is to be named for Gregg Olson," former Auburn head coach Hal Baird said.
"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. True praise indeed."
Olson remains the highest drafted player to ever come out of Auburn, being taken fourth overall in the 1988 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. 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 strike outs and a 3.46 ERA in 672 innings. 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 demonstrated that they are among the top amateur baseball players in the nation.
The winner of the 2013 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Neb., during the College World Series. A Watch List is scheduled to be released Monday, May 20th. At the conclusion of the regular season a selection of five finalists will be made by an independent panel.