John Olerud announced his retirement this week and the outpouring of articles and postings paying respect to this player is impressive. Some retirements bring on a spate of obligatory retrospectives of their careers - but this guy seems to inspire a more genuine reflection of both his accomplishments and character. Some good ones can be found here, here and here.
People will remember his smooth swing and his outstanding performances in the 1992 and 1993 World Series as he helped the Blue Jays win both years. I think I probably first became aware of him around that time. But it was as a Mariner that I saw him play the most. He was really an outstanding defensive 1st baseman and I think his talent in that position shaved error totals for all his middle infielders. And the defensive half of so many innings ended with an out recorded at first that the image of John Olerud - wearing that batting helmet as a fielder - shaking that baseball in his hand to show the umpire as he heads off to the dugout is forever burned into my memory.
It also sounds like he is a class act off the field as well.