Andy Van Slyke

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Andy Van Slyke
Van Slyke.JPG
Seattle Mariners – No. 43
Center fielder, coach
Born: (1960-12-21) December 21, 1960 (age 53)
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
Career statistics
Batting average .274
Home runs 164
Runs batted in 792
Career highlights and awards

Andrew James Van Slyke (born December 21, 1960) is an American professional baseball coach and retired Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder. He is the 2014 first base coach of the Seattle Mariners and formerly served in the same post on Jim Leyland's Detroit Tigers coaching staff.


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

He began his career the first two years by playing first base, third base, and all three outfield positions. Van Slyke mostly played right field the next two years on the strength of his throwing arm, occasionally platooning with Tito Landrum or 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 Pena. The trade occurred on April 1, with Van Slyke initially thinking 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. MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent, who ordered that the Canadian flag decal be re-inserted 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.

Overall, Van Slyke played for four different 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 Gloves 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. He was doing a radio show in St. Louis, Missouri before joining Leyland's staff. Van Slyke served four seasons, and the Tigers announced in October 2009, that Van Slyke would not return for the 2010 season.



# = MLB All-Star Game selection

Hall of Fame candidacy[edit]

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 0 votes and was eliminated from future BBWAA voting.[7]

Career as an author[edit]

Having retired from baseball, Van Slyke has begun pursuing a career as an author, focusing on books centered around 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 sub-genre sports fiction about the Chicago Cubs finally breaking their one hundred year curse and playing in the World Series.

Personal life[edit]

Andy has four sons, three of whom played college or professional sports. Scott Van Slyke plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization;[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 was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005.[10]

See also[edit]


  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
  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

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mick Kelleher
Detroit Tigers first base coach
Succeeded by
Tom Brookens
Preceded by
Mike Brumley
Seattle Mariners first base coach
Succeeded by