Andy Van Slyke

Andrew James Van Slyke (born December 21, 1960) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder.

Andy Van Slyke
Andy Van Slyke Mariners coach July 2014 MMP
Van Slyke as coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2014
Center fielder
Born: December 21, 1960 (age 58)
Utica, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 17, 1983, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1995, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Batting average.274
Home runs164
Runs batted in792
Career highlights and awards


Van Slyke earned All-American honors in baseball as a senior at New Hartford Central High school in New Hartford, New York.

He was drafted in the first round (sixth overall pick) of the 1979 Major League Baseball amateur draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Called up from the AAA Louisville Redbirds, he made his Major League debut with the Cardinals on June 17, 1983, collecting a double, a run batted in (RBI) and making three putouts in the outfield without an error.[1]

In 1985, he was one of five Cardinals to steal at least 30 bases. He stole 34 that season, part of the "Whiteyball" era.

The first two years of his career Van Slyke played first base, third base and all three outfield positions. He mostly played right field the next two years on the strength of his throwing arm, occasionally platooning with Tito Landrum, sometimes substituting for Willie McGee in center field. On September 21, 1986, he hit a rare inside-the-park home run.[2] During spring training 1987, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with left-handed hitting catcher Mike LaValliere and minor league pitcher Mike Dunne for catcher Tony Peña. The trade occurred on April 1, with Van Slyke initially believing that it was an April Fools' Day joke.[3] In Pittsburgh, he mostly played center field alongside stars Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla.

During the 1991 Gulf War, when the MLB decreed all players would wear both the Canadian and U.S. flags on their batting helmets as a patriotic gesture, Van Slyke scraped the Maple Leaf off his helmet, stating "I guess the people in Quebec won't be upset because the last time we were there they booed [the Canadian] National Anthem". MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent ordered that the Canadian flag decal be reinserted onto the helmet.[4]

Once Van Slyke became a full-time outfielder, he showed off one of the most accurate and powerful throwing arms in the majors, so much that the "Slyke Zone" was established at Three Rivers Stadium. From 1985 to 1994, he was frequently among the league leaders in outfield assists. From 1985 to 1988, he posted seasons of 13, 10, 11, and 12 assists, respectively. As center fielder for the Pirates, he won five consecutive Gold Gloves from 1988 to 1992.

Andy Van Slyke
Van Slyke with Detroit

Van Slyke played for four teams in his career: the St. Louis Cardinals (1983–1986), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987–1994), Baltimore Orioles (1995), and Philadelphia Phillies (1995). He played his final game on October 1, 1995. In his 13-year career, Van Slyke appeared in three All-Star games (1988, 1992, 1993), won five Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards, and ranked in the top 10 in many offensive categories in varying seasons.

Prior to the 2006 season, Van Slyke was named first base coach for the Detroit Tigers by manager Jim Leyland, under whom he had played in Pittsburgh. Van Slyke served in that capacity on Leyland's staff for four years through the 2009 season.

When Lloyd McClendon was named the Seattle Mariners' manager prior to the 2014 season, Van Slyke was hired to be the team's first base coach. He also worked as the assistant hitting coach and outfield instructor through the 2015 season.

In 1658 games over 13 seasons, Van Slyke compiled a .274 batting average (1562-for-5711) with 835 runs, 293 doubles, 91 triples, 164 home runs, 792 RBI, 245 stolen bases, 667 walks, 1063 strikeouts, an on-base percentage of .349 and a slugging percentage of .443. He recorded a .987 fielding percentage at all three outfield positions, first base and third base.


  • June 5, 1979: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (6th pick) of the 1979 amateur draft.
  • April 1, 1987: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Mike Dunne and Mike LaValliere to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Tony Peña.
  • October 21, 1994: Granted free agency.
  • April 21, 1995: Signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • June 18, 1995: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Philadelphia Phillies for Gene Harris.
  • November 3, 1995: Granted free agency.[5]


  • 1983: St. Louis Cardinals: $35,000
  • 1984: St. Louis Cardinals: $40,000
  • 1985: St. Louis Cardinals: $170,000
  • 1986: St. Louis Cardinals: $335,000
  • 1987: Pittsburgh Pirates: $550,000
  • 1988 #: Pittsburgh Pirates: $825,000
  • 1989: Pittsburgh Pirates: $2,150,000
  • 1990: Pittsburgh Pirates: $1,200,000
  • 1991: Pittsburgh Pirates: $2,180,000
  • 1992 #: Pittsburgh Pirates: $4,350,000 (Including $100,000 earned bonus)
  • 1993 #: Pittsburgh Pirates: $4,900,000 (Including $250K signing bonus and $50K earned bonus)
  • 1994: Pittsburgh Pirates: $3,550,000 (Including $250K signing bonus)
  • 1995: Baltimore Orioles: $600,000 (including $50,000 earned bonus)
  • 1995: Philadelphia Phillies: Undetermined

# = MLB All-Star Game selection

Hall of Fame candidacy

Van Slyke became eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. 75% of the vote was necessary for induction, and 5% was necessary to stay on the ballot. Of the 32 total candidates,[6] Van Slyke received no votes and was eliminated from future BBWAA voting.[7]

Career after baseball

Having retired from baseball, Van Slyke has begun pursuing a career as an author, focusing on books centered on baseball. In 2009, he authored Tiger Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Season (with co-author Jim Hawkins). In July 2010, he published The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They? (with co-author Rob Rains), a book in the subgenre sports fiction about the Chicago Cubs finally breaking their one hundred year curse and playing in the World Series.

Personal life

Van Slyke has four sons, three of whom played college or professional sports. Scott Van Slyke has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and as of 2018 plays for the Doosan Bears of the KBO league;[8] Jared Van Slyke was a defensive back on the University of Michigan football team;[9] and A. J. Van Slyke played baseball for the University of Kansas and for four seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system.[10]

He attended New Hartford Central High School in New Hartford, New York, Class of 1979. His father was the school's principal.[11]

See also


  1. ^ LeBar, Paul (June 19, 1983). "Van Slyke gets chance". Park City Daily News. p. 14A. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  2. ^ Jim Tommey and Kip Ingle, ed. (1987). St. Louis Cardinals 1987 Media Guide. St. Louis National Baseball Club. p. 116.
  3. ^ "Bucs ship Pena to Cardinals for Van Slyke".
  4. ^ "Van Slyke vs. Canadian decal". Meriden Record-Journal.
  5. ^ Van Slyke at Baseball-Reference
  6. ^ 2001 HoF election Archived August 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ 2001 MLB Hall of Fame voting
  8. ^ Baseball Reference: Scott Van Slyke
  9. ^ Jared Van Slyke at Michigan
  10. ^ Baseball Reference: A.J. Van Slyke
  11. ^ Neff Rof, Amy (June 8, 2018). "Van Slyke remembered as knowledgeable, fair". Observer-Dispatch. Utica, New York. Retrieved November 5, 2018.

External links

Preceded by
Mick Kelleher
Detroit Tigers first base coach
Succeeded by
Tom Brookens
Preceded by
Mike Brumley
Seattle Mariners first base coach
Succeeded by
Chris Woodward
1979 Major League Baseball draft

The 1979 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was held on June 5–7, 1979, via conference call.

1979 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1979 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 98th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 88th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 86-76 during the season and finished third in the National League East, 12 games behind the eventual NL pennant and World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1985 St. Louis Cardinals season

The St. Louis Cardinals' 1985 season was the team's 104th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 94th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 101-61 during the season and finished in first place in the National League East division by three games over the New York Mets. After defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the NLCS, they lost in seven games in the World Series to their cross-state rivals, the Kansas City Royals in the I-70 Series. The World Series is known for the infamous "safe" call on the Royals' Jorge Orta by umpire Don Denkinger.

The Cardinals switched back to their traditional gray road uniforms for the first time in ten seasons.

Outfielder Willie McGee won the National League MVP Award this year, batting .353 with 10 home runs and 82 RBIs. Outfielder Vince Coleman won the National League Rookie of the Year Award this year, batting .267 with 107 runs scored and 110 stolen bases. Shortstop Ozzie Smith and McGee both won Gold Gloves this year.

During the 1985 playoffs, the Cardinals used the slogan The Heat Is On, in reference to the song that was released earlier that year.

1986 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1986 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 105th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 95th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 79-82 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League East division.

1988 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1988 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 107th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 102nd in the National League. This was their 19th season at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates finished second in the National League East with a record of 85–75.

1990 National League Championship Series

The 1990 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds (91–71) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (95–67). It was the first playoff appearance for both teams since 1979 and the fifth NLCS meeting overall with Cincinnati winning the Pennant in 1970, 1972, and 1975 while Pittsburgh won in 1979.

The Reds won the series, 4–2, and eventually went on to sweep the defending World Champion Oakland Athletics in the World Series. This was the only NLCS during the 1990s that did not feature the Atlanta Braves and was the first of four straight to feature either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Between Game 2 (in Cincinnati) and Game 3 (in Pittsburgh), the teams took two days off instead of the usual one. That Sunday, October 7, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to use Three Rivers Stadium for their scheduled game against the San Diego Chargers, so Game 3 (and by extension, the rest of the series) was pushed back a day.

1990 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates season was their 109th season; the 104th in the National League. This was their 21st season at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates finished first in the National League East with a record of 95–67. They were defeated four games to two by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990 National League Championship Series.

1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 63rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 14, 1992, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 13–6.

1992 Major League Baseball season

The 1992 Major League Baseball season saw the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, becoming the first team outside the United States to win the World Series.

Also a resurgence in pitching dominance occur during this season. On average, one out of every seven games pitched that season was a shutout; in 2,106 MLB regular-season games, 298 shutouts were pitched (up from 272 in 2,104 regular-season games in 1991). Two teams pitched at least 20 shutouts each; the Atlanta Braves led the Majors with 24 and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished second with 20. In the National League, no team hit more than 138 home runs and no team scored 700 runs. The San Francisco Giants were shut out 18 times, the most in the Majors. The effect was similar in the American League. In 1991, two AL teams had scored at least 800 runs and three had collected 1,500 hits. In 1992, no team scored 800 runs and only one reached 1,500 hits. The California Angels were shut out 15 times, the most in the AL.

1992 National League Championship Series

The 1992 National League Championship Series was played between the Atlanta Braves (98–64) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (96–66) from October 6 to 14. A rematch of the 1991 NLCS, Atlanta won the 1992 NLCS in seven games to advance to their second straight World Series. The series ended in dramatic fashion; in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with Atlanta down 2–1 and the bases loaded, the Braves' Francisco Cabrera cracked a two-run single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream. Bream famously slid to score the Series-winning run, beating the throw by Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds.

The Braves would go on to lose to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series in six games.

1995 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1995 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing 3rd in the American League East with a record of 71 wins and 73 losses.

List of Pittsburgh Pirates home run leaders

List of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise home run leaders with 40 or more home runs.(Correct as of March 20, 2019)

Pittsburgh Pirates award winners and league leaders

This is a list of all awards won by players and personnel of the Pittsburgh Pirates professional baseball team.

Rawlings Gold Glove Award

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as simply the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. It is also awarded to women fastpitch softball players in the National Pro Fastpitch as of 2016. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Additionally, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007, and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in Major League Baseball; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.

Rob Rains

Rob Rains is a former National League beat writer for USA Today's Baseball Weekly and for three years covered the St. Louis Cardinals for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat until its collapse in the 1980s. He was awarded the Freedom Forum Grant to teach Journalism for a year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. Rains has been writing books, magazine articles, and doing radio for the past 10 years. He is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rains has written or co-written 29 books, most on baseball, including autobiographies or biographies of Mark McGwire, Ozzie Smith, Jack Buck, Red Schoendienst, and Dave Phillips. Rains is also the co-author of The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They? which he wrote with former St. Louis Cardinal Andy Van Slyke. The Curse is a novel that describes a tragic plane crash that kills almost the entire Chicago Cubs roster, and the new players that soldier on to take the Cubs to their first World Series in decades. Rains is also the author of James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball, co-written with Naismith's granddaughter Hellen Carpenter.

Scott Van Slyke

Scott T. Van Slyke (born July 24, 1986) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers and for the Doosan Bears of the KBO League.

The son of All-Star outfielder Andy Van Slyke, he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of John Burroughs School in Missouri.

Sims Legion Park

Sims Legion Park is a 3,000-seat baseball stadium located in Gastonia, North Carolina. It hosts the Gastonia Grizzlies of the Coastal Plain League, as well as American Legion baseball.

The stadium underwent a total rebuild in the 1970s in order to attract a Minor League Baseball team. Since then the stadium has seen many tenants come and go. There is an ongoing effort to build a new ballpark in Gastonia, but it is not guaranteed to be a new home for the Grizzlies.Players who've played here include Andy Van Slyke (Cardinals, Pirates), Sammy Sosa (Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles), Juan González (Rangers, Tigers, Indians, Royals), Iván Rodríguez (Rangers, Marlins, Tigers), and former Major Leaguer Tug McGraw (Mets, Phillies), who pitched one game for the Rangers in 1989.

Van Slyke

Van Slyke or Van Slycke is a Dutch toponymic surname meaning "of/from Slyke". The Dictionary of American Family Names published by Oxford University Press documents the two most likely meanings of the word "Slyke" here:

from Middle Dutch slijcke "mire", "marshy place" (modern Dutch slijk)

from a place named after this word, such as Slijkenburg in Friesland, Slijkewijck in Gelderland or possibly Slik in North Holland


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