Olson set the bar high
for Blue Dragon Baseball
When Tim Olson was in the process of figuring out where he was going to play college baseball, getting the word out wasn’t easy.
Bismarck, North Dakota, wasn’t a baseball hot bed, so scouts were few and far between. In the late 1990s, recruiting services and streaming platforms like YouTube weren’t around yet in order for Olson to post a highlight video or get the word out about his skill set.
So, somehow, Olson found his way to Hutchinson Community College. Turned out to be a perfect fit as Olson became one of the best Blue Dragon shortstops ever, both offensively and defensive, and is now a member of the 2018 Quarterback Club Hall of Fame induction class.
“I’m not sure how they found out, but Coach (John) Burgi and Hutch was one of the first ones to recruit me,” said Olson, who turned two years in Hutchinson into a professional career with two different organizations. “It was early on in the process when I decided to go to Hutch, so I didn’t do a lot of looking around.”
So how did Burgi find out about Olson?
“We never saw him in person, we only saw him on film,” Burgi said. “We got a copy of a sports highlight show from Bismarck. We saw him hit a home run that went over a sign that said 420 feet. He was also a really good football player and really good basketball player. We made a few phone calls and they said he could really play.
“When Tim walked on campus was the first time we ever saw him.”
Olson and the Blue Dragons had a pretty good two years together.
“My two years at Hutch were monumental to my career,” Olson said. “It was a great bridge from high school baseball in North Dakota to a larger platform. As a freshman I got to play a lot and we practiced every day. My skills went through the roof. I don’t know if that would have happened at a four year school.
“It was absolutely the perfect move for my career.”
A two-year starting shortstop, Olson was a two-year all-Jayhawk Conference player and a 1999 NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American.
At the time of his graduation in 1999, Tim was the Blue Dragon career home run record with 27. Tim also held the Blue Dragon single-season batting average record of .460.
In 1999, Olson hit .460 with 74 hits, 59 runs, 73 RBIs, and 17 home runs. For his career, he hit .417 with 143 hits, a school-record 125 runs scored, 126 RBIs and 27 home runs.
At the time of his induction, Olson ranked fifth in career batting average, sixth in career hits, third in runs scored, fourth in career RBIs, second in career home runs and fourth in career total bases (263).
“At Hutch, Tim was the best player I had,” Burgi said. “He had this unbelievable work ethic.”
Olson was also a slick fielding shortstop with great range. He still ranks ninth in career assists with 196.
Burgi told the story of how Olson would always come to his office – which at that time was part of the football building adjacent to Gowans Stadium. Olson would go down to the baseball office and constantly hit off a tee into a soft net to work on his swing.
“Any time he had a break in class, he would come in and hit,” Burgi said. “He had this desire to be really good.”
Olson transferred to the University of Florida and played for the Gators for one season. While at Florida, hit put together a 29-game hitting streak.
After one season at Florida, Olson was drafted in the seventh round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent five seasons in the Diamondbacks’ organization, finally being called up to the majors on May 30, 2004.
Olson played in 48 games for the Diamondbacks and hit .186 with a .301 on-base percentage. He had two home runs and five RBIs.
After the 2004 season, Olson moved onto the Colorado Rockies organization, but injuries started to affect his career. He played only three games with the Roc