Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals' Gilkey Is Mr. Consistency

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals' Gilkey Is Mr. Consistency

Article excerpt

He is hitting .600 after two games, and almost no one has noticed.

"He bores you with his consistency," Cardinals manager Joe Torre said. "Eddie Murray didn't like it when I said that about him."

But Cardinals outfielder Bernard Gilkey doesn't seem to mind, even if it has taken awhile for baseball at large to take stock of him.

"I can't really tell you what other people think," Gilkey said. "I can only tell you what I know - and I have confidence in my ability. That's the only thing I concern myself with. I'm not here to worry about what other people think."

Gilkey wonders what might have happened if, in 1984, he had accepted that scholarship offer to play basketball at Drake University.

"I'd signed a letter of intent and I was expecting to be there," said Gilkey, a star at University City High. "But there was a week left and I hadn't even started packing.

"I slowly started going through my supplies and I said, `Nah. Baseball would be a better choice.' "

In late August of that year, just before school would start, Gilkey accepted the Cardinals' bonus offer of $17,500 as a free agent.

"A scholarship would have been worth about $40,000 back then," Gilkey said. "But now I think I'm ahead."

Gilkey is making $1.6 million this year. Besides, he said, "I don't know how far I would have gone (in basketball). There are 11 guys on a team and most of them are 6-6 and 6-7."

Gilkey is just over 6 feet, barely point guard size. "But I would shoot too much," he said. "I had a problem with that then."

Assuming that Torre gives him 400 or more at-bats, this will be Gilkey's second season as a regular player. He actually was given regular's status in 1991 when he started on opening day. But he played himself out of that, with the help of a thumb injury he suffered in San Diego when he tripped on a bullpen mound and slid into the wall on a play in the outfield. …

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