From baseball to dermatology, physician stays on top of his game with talent, passion
John E. Olerud, M.D.
Medical degree: University of Washington, Seattle
Internship: University of Washington
Residencies, internal medicine and dermatology: University of Washington
Hobbies: Baseball, golf, photography
Family: Wife, Lynda Olerud; son, John G. Olerud; daughter, Erica Olerud; and three grandchildren
ACCORDING TO DERMATOLOGIST John E. Olerud, M.D., "Life is a lot like baseball."
In fact, Dr. Olerud often shares with his trainees the life lessons he learned as a professional baseball player. He focused on the topic in a recent acceptance speech, when Washington State University honored him last year with its Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award. And the dermatologist's beloved sport remains a part of his daily teaching.
"My poor residents have to listen to all the metaphors about baseball," he says.
Baseball is a topic near and dear to Dr. Olerud. While earning his undergraduate degree at Washington State University during the mid-1960s, he was team captain and catcher for the WSU Cougars. The team went to the College World Series, and Dr. Olerud was named to the All-American Team.
"Baseball was my first passion and medicine was what I knew I'd do in the long term," he says. "If I had been as good a ballplayer as my son, I probably would have played as long as I could."
After Dr. Olerud's successful run in the sport, he lived vicariously through his son, John G. Olerud, who made his mark as a major league first baseman. From 1989 to 2005, John Olerud played professionally for the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. A three-time Gold Glove winner, John Olerud won the American League batting title in 1993, and he was runner-up for the National League batting title in 1998.