In an untrafficked corner of the Philadelphia Phillies clubhouse, two teammates are jawing over who's the greatest ballplayer in the universe. "I say Doug Glanville," says leftfielder Gregg Jefferies.
" Doug Glanville?" Third baseman Scott Rolen is stunned. " Doug Glanville, our centerfielder?"
"Yeah, that Doug Glanville. He has more multihit games than anybody in the National League. He's second in hits and triples, and sixth in runs. The season's not half over, and he's already had 14- and 17- and 18-game hitting streaks. He can steal a base, and he can catch any fly ball in the outfield. Therefore, Doug Glanville is the best ballplayer in the universe."
Baseball's Mr. Universe is no swaggering Schwarzenegger. He's a lean, logical Ivy Leaguer with a fondness for logarithms and a face that's predisposed to smile. "You have to be quiet to hear Doug because he speaks real low," says infielder Rex Hudler. "But what comes out of his mouth is awesome! He may be too smart for this sport. This is a game for dopes."
At week's end, the University of Pennsylvania engineering grad was on pace for 230 hits, which would make him the first Phillie to reach 200 since Pete Rose in 1979. "On the field, I try not to overthink," says the 27-year-old Glanville, 12th in the league with a .325 batting average. "My Triple A manager said I thought too much. I am pretty cerebral—at least I think I am."
The son of a Trinidad-born psychiatrist father and a retired math teacher, Glanville grew up in Teaneck, N.J., playing French horn and piano, but not cricket, his father's game. "I suspect the reason Doug did so well at baseball was that he wanted to outdo his older brother," says Doug's father, Cecil. This, Dad cautions, is just a guess. "I've never psychoanalyzed Doug. Only if a psychiatrist really wants to lose his family should he start practicing on them."
It's one thing to probe Glanville's mind, quite another to change it. In high school he advised major league teams not to draft him. "I was more interested in a degree," says Glanville. He insisted on writing his senior thesis (a 120-page paper on the impact a new Phillies ballpark would have on traffic patterns around the city) even after the Chicago Cubs had given him a $325,000 signing bonus in 1991.
For a guy whose expertise is designing transportation systems, Glanville took forever—six years in the minors—to find Wrigley Field. Last December, after hitting .300 in his first full season, he was dealt to Philadelphia for second baseman Mickey Morandini. In spring training he fought the beloved Lenny Dykstra for the centerfield job. ("It was tough," Glanville says. "What was I supposed to do, hire Tonya Harding and take him out?")
Thanks largely to Glanville, the Phils are one of the most improved teams in the majors, with 13 more wins than last year at this juncture. But one thing professors never taught Glanville was to lay off high fastballs. In a league-leading 314 at bats this year, he has walked just 14 times. Worse, the greatest ballplayer in the universe may also be its greatest slob. "Doug leaves a trail of clothes from the clubhouse door to his locker," complains catcher Mark Parent. "I'll tell you what—there's no way I'm sending my kids to Penn."