What ever happened to Scott Olsen?


If you have been following this blog for the past month or so, you might remember this post: Marlins comparisons 2006-2012

In 2006, a new class of talent emerged in the Florida Marlins. The same year, six of their rookies were in the top 12 for Rookie of the Year voting. One of these young starts was Scott Olsen. For three full years, Scott took the hill in Miami posting a 31-37 record with the team. The lanky lefty was a fan favorite, but for two of those years stood in the shadow of the dominate lefty, Dontrelle Willis. Nevertheless, Olsen’s career looked promising, but unfortunately the climate in Miami was not to his liking.

Olsen sweats profusely, more than any human being I have ever seen. He wore long sleeves when pitching, probably to keep sweat from dripping down his arms. By the fourth inning on a midsummer’s night, sweat would be pouring off the bill of his cap just like rain poured off Jimmy Morris’ (Dennis Quaid) cap in the movie “The Rookie.” Just imagine this picture without the rain falling in the background, and that would be the image of Scott Olsen’s hat.

In November of 2008, not likely influenced by Olsen’s sweat problem, the Marlins traded him, along with Josh Willingham, to the Nationals for Emilio Bonifacio and two other prospects.

In 2010 came the only bright spot for him as a National. In a May start, he had the Braves hitless through 7 1/3 innings before giving up a single in the eighth. It was one of the few starts he had in Washington in which he featured the “stuff” he showcased previously in Florida. He missed the majority of the 2009 season due to injury. In December of 2009 he was non-tendered by the Nationals, meaning he would become a free agent, but re-signed with the team for the 2010 season.

I took a Spring Training trip in 2010 to see the Marlins in Jupiter, and went to Viera on the trip so see them play Washington. Guess who started for the Nationals? Yes, Scott Olsen pitched against Ricky Nolasco. After the game, I loitered over by the Nationals dugout because Olsen stayed on the field to talk to Nolasco. After a few minutes of conversing, he signed a card for me and I got a picture with him.By the way, I get those wretched braces off tomorrow.

While I’m at it, I should analyze his signature also:

Since I was *literally* the only fan left in the stadium, he put more time into this signature. The “34” is great for a couple reasons: a) a uniform number in a lot of cases means the player acknowledges their awful handwriting and adds it for identification, but in this case that is not the case because b) it is a baseball card with the his name and picture already on it, so we can infer c) he cares. Point blank. His uniform number with the Nationals was “19,” and he realized that d) I was wearing Marlins garb, so obviously I was a Marlins fan, and e) his number with the Marlins was 34 (don’t be confused by his rookie photo at the top with “48”), so it just made sense.

Some players have different signatures depending on the quantity of items they are signing. For example, before a game, a player might use his shorthand signature due to the amount of people he is signing for, while at a signing event, he might elongate his signature, or at least use a more iconic, or recognizable style in signing the items. Although Olsen doesn’t have a full name signature, at least that I have seen, this is the on he has put the most time into. Since I was the only fan there, this would make sense.

After his time in 2010 with the Nationals, he was picked up by the Pirates for the 2011 season, but did not pitch in the majors.

He suffered a hamstring injury in Spring Training, and never recovered fully. He was released from the Pirates in May. He has still not found a major league team interested in signing him.

For most of his career, Olsen was inconsistent and injury-laden. Those two traits make signing with anyone difficult. Unfortunately, Scott Olsen’s career didn’t turn out the way we all hoped, but he is still special to those who remember his days with the Marlins.

Author: Steve Miller

Steve Miller has been baseball blogging since 2011. He is the Sports Editor at the University of Dayton's Flyer News. Email: h2rsteve@gmail.com

5 thoughts

  1. That’s a really cool picture you have together with Scott. Now that the Rangers released him and unless Scott is injured, it seems like such a waste to see such a hardcore competitor off the field. Scott is only 29 and there is no reason, barring injury, that he should not be signed by some team.

    1. Thanks! Scott was a promising young pitcher with the Fish, and a fan favorite. But I believe inconsistencies and injuries undermined his reputation, and is therefore not an attractive player for teams to sign.

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