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Life, according to Andy Kulina ’87 (part 4) – the infamous batting average

Submitted by Lyna Kelley, director of communications and PR, and Judy Crist, executive director of communications and creative services

Moreover interviewed alumnus Andy Kulina about his life since graduating in 1987. Andy lived on campus and spent time involved in activities which included playing intercollegiate tennis and serving as dorm council president. In this episode, he discusses his time on the Thomas More baseball team as a teammate of professional standout David Justice during Justice’s senior year. Andy did not make it to the big leagues.

Q: Besides the tennis team, are there any other extracurriculars that you did while you were at Thomas More?

AK: Yeah, a couple of them. I played baseball one year. Terry (Connor – current Saints director of athletics) and I still joke about it. What happened is this was when Jim Connor was the baseball coach and the athletic director. The year I played was Dave Justice’s last year. My dream was to be a professional baseball player, but my body never quite caught up to it, right? They came around to all the teams and said, “Listen, we need somebody from each roster to come and just play games.” I practiced with the tennis team and occasionally took batting practice, but I remember the tennis coach going, “Does anybody want to play baseball?” I was like, “It’s my dream!”

Q: And you got to play with David Justice.

AK: I did!l And still to this day, because I saw him when I was out in Colorado, I mean he’s a celebrity so we’re not in daily contact, but we know who each other is. But Bobby Young (who was just back) and I are still very good friends. I kidded him (Dave), because I got to bat like 10 times. I walked five times, I’m not that good at baseball, but I got two hits in five at bats, so my final season batting average was 400. Dave Justice was 380, right? At the end of the season, they printed off the sheet and I was chasing him around after the draft to get him to sign it to prove that I had a higher batting average than Dave Justice. He’s like, “You’re going to tell that story the rest of your life,” and I have. I saw him at the Rockies, when he was with the Braves, and one of my friends shouted, “Hey, this guy says he had a higher batting average than you,” and he screamed back from the dugout, “He only batted five time!” I’m glad it stuck with him as well.