Born: December 21, 1960
Batted: Left Threw: Right
June 17, 1983, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1995, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Batting average .274
Home runs 164
Runs batted in 792
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.
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. 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 believing that it was an April Fools’ Day joke. In Pittsburgh, he mostly played center field alongside stars Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla.
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.
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
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, Van Slyke received no votes and was eliminated from future BBWAA voting.