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Olerud returns to raise awareness of skin cancer

SEATTLE -- John Olerud threw the ceremonial opening pitch Tuesday night, which was caught by his son, John Olerud. The pair were at the game to promote the 15th Annual Play Sun Smart Day at Safeco Field, an event put on by the Mariners in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the American Academy of Dermatology to raise awareness of skin cancer.

"It's very cool. I really look forward to the opportunity to do this and especially at a time when we're trying to call attention to Play Sun Smart, and the baseball world, they're beginning to call more attention to sun safety, and I think that's a great thing," said the elder Dr. Olerud, head of Dermatology at the University of Washington Medical Center. He, like his son, was an All-American baseball player at Washington State University..

His son was a fan favorite during his five years with the Mariners, and played a pivotal role during their record 116-win season in 2001. That year, he was selected to the All-Star game with a .401 on-base percentage. He also earned three Gold Gloves for his superb defense at first base during his time with the Mariners.

"Manager Eric Wedge has always wanted me to come out," the younger Olerud said. "Very welcoming of the older players, guys that have been here before him that are in the area. I just haven't been able to make it out [before this]."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for
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