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Andy Van Slyke

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Andrew James Van Slyke

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[edit] Biographical Information

Andy Van Slyke played 13 seasons in the big leagues, hitting 164 home runs. He led the league once in hits, once in doubles and once in triples, finishing as high as fourth in the MVP voting in 1988. He won five Gold Gloves and was named to three All-Star teams.

Two of the most similar players (based on similarity scores) are his contemporaries Lloyd Moseby and Von Hayes, although neither won any Gold Gloves and Van Slyke has a higher OPS+ than either of them.

He wanted to be a weather reporter on TV. One of the local Pittsburgh stations let him do a guest spot and he wandered off camera at one point and was pointing at incorrect areas at another point. Overall, it made one realize that some skill is required in reporting on the weather.

Known for being loquacious and a good quote, Van Slyke was popular with the media.

"On the road when you do downstairs for coffee in your underwear, they throw you out of the kitchen." - Andy Van Slyke, on how life is different when you play on the road
"The biggest adjustment from the minors was learning to spend $45 in meal money." - Andy Van Slyke
"I played third base like Brooks - Mel Brooks." - Andy Van Slyke

In late 2004, he drew more media attention for claiming that former teammate Barry Bonds was a steroid user, basing his statement on Bonds' muscle gain.

Van Slyke was the center of controversy when the Pittsburgh Pirates signed him instead of devoting those resources to the younger, more talented but less popular Bonds. Some claimed racism was at work as well. Van Slyke faded quickly, Bonds kept winning MVPs and since then the Pirates have not had a winning season.

He was named first base coach of the Detroit Tigers for the 2006 season and remained on the job until 2009. He was then out of baseball for four years before coming back in 2014 as first base coach of the Seattle Mariners, under manager Lloyd McClendon who had been a fellow member of the Tigers' coaching staff.

His oldest son A.J. Van Slyke was the 23rd round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2005 amateur draft, while his middle son Scott Van Slyke was the Los Angeles Dodgers 14th round pick in the same draft and reached the major leagues in 2012.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 3-time NL All-Star (1988, 1992 & 1993)
  • 5-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1988-1992)
  • 2-time Silver Slugger Award Winner (1988 & 1992)
  • NL Hits Leader (1992)
  • NL Doubles Leader (1992)
  • NL Triples Leader (1988)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1987 & 1988)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1988)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1988 & 1992)

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