Acid Flashback Friday: John Olerud’s Helmet

As a kid, there was nothing I hated more than wearing a helmet. Although it was for my safety, at the time … wearing a helmet simply wasn’t “cool”.

John Olerud however, made it cool to wear a helmet.

For this week’s Acid Flashback Friday, we take a look back at former Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud and more specifically his helmet.


Personally, I can’t think of any other piece of equipment in Blue Jays history that has more lustre than Johnny O’s helmet.

For years, I wondered why John Olerud wore a batting helmet at first base. The story is that Olerud suffered a brain aneurysm back in 1989 during a morning workout at Washington State University. In order to avoid further injuries to the head, his doctors advised him to wear a helmet while playing the field.

Olerud recovered from the injury, but he chose to keep wearing the helmet at first base as a matter of precaution and maybe also because it was force of habit. John wore his batting helmet in the field for the duration of his major league career.

My parents in part can thank John Olerud for keeping me safe, because he encouraged me and other kids to protect their noggins – whether it was on the field, riding a bike, or participating in a backyard wrestling battle royal featuring a Dionk The Clown look alike.

Coincidentally, there is a blog out there called John Olerud’s Helmet – awesome!

Remember, if you have any suggestions you’d like to see on “Acid Flashback Friday”, feel free to send them to

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

4 thoughts on “Acid Flashback Friday: John Olerud’s Helmet

  • June 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I loved his helmet. To this day my friends and I call helmets "Oleruds". As in, when playing beer league softball we say "Don't forget to wear your Olerud."

  • June 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Very nice! Johnny O would definitely be proud.

    Olerud not only made it cool to wear a batting helmet, but he also made it cool to have an oversized first baseman's glove. Those are the two things I will remember about him the most.

  • June 6, 2010 at 12:36 am

    No worries, thanks for the great blog! I love the name of it, by the way.

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