Today’s Random Player From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is Andy Van Slyke.  Van Slyke was taken with the sixth pick of the 1979 draft by the Cardinals ahead of Tim Wallach and Steve Howe.  He made his big league debut in 1983 and proved to be a very good all around player.  For his career he hit .274/.349/.443 with a 119 OPS+, stole 245 bases at an 80.6% success rate, once led the league in triples, doubles, and hits, once had 100 RBI in a season, won five Gold Gloves, and twice finished fourth in the MVP voting.  In Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS Van Slyke was on deck with Jack Clark at the plate with runners on second and third.  Lasorda was in the dugout asking himself (as Vin Scully would say on the air), “Do I walk him and pitch to that blank blank Van Slyke?”  That decision could be justified, but one pitch changed that as Clark planted one into the left field seats.

 

But Van Slyke more than anything else was known for his wit.  Some of his better quotes:

 

“The game is full of peaks and valleys, the key is to avoid the Grand Canyon.”

 

“If someone from Germany or somewhere, who had no idea what baseball was, saw Kruk play, he’d wonder what the beer truck driver was doing playing first base.”

 

“They wanted me to play third like Brooks so I did play like Brooks – Mel Brooks.”

 

(About Mitch Williams) “If everyone were like him I wouldn’t play.  I’d find a safer way to make a living.”

 

“Last year we had so many people coming in and out they didn’t bother to sew their names on the backs of the uniforms.  They just put them there with Velcro.”

 

“The biggest adjustment from the minors was learning to spend $45 in meal money.”

 

“Who says there’s an unemployment problem in this country?  Just take the five percent unemployed and give them a baseball stat to follow.”

 

“With the Cardinals everybody would be reading the business section to see what their stocks were doing.  You get to [the Pirates] room in the morning and everybody is looking at the sports page to see if Hulk Hogan won.”

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