Kruk playing in 1992.
|First baseman / Outfielder|
February 9, 1961 |
Charleston, West Virginia
|April 7, 1986, for the San Diego Padres|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 30, 1995, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||592|
|Career highlights and awards|
San Diego Padres
Kruk's breakout year was 1987 with the Padres. He hit .313 with 20 home runs and 91 RBI, and stole 18 bases, showing surprising speed for someone of his build, although he was caught ten times. He was featured as a backup on the National League All-Star Team in the Nintendo game R.B.I. Baseball. On April 13, 1987, Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn, and Kruk became the first players in major league history to open their half of the 1st inning with three consecutive solo home runs in a 13-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
In October 1987, Kruk rented a house in San Diego with two other men: Roy Plummer, a high school friend, and Vernon (Jay) Hafer, an acquaintance of Plummer's. They socialized and partied together, with Plummer almost always picking up the check. Unbeknownst to Kruk, who moved out in November to play winter ball in Mexico, Plummer was funding the group's lifestyle by moonlighting as an armed robber, with Hafer serving as his getaway driver. The FBI informed Kruk of his roommates' criminal activities during spring training in February 1988, approaching him before batting practice with a photo of Plummer taken during a bank robbery. According to the FBI, Plummer believed that Kruk had turned him in to the police, and Kruk lived in fear of reprisal until Plummer was apprehended on September 19, 1988. Kruk has stated that the ongoing stress from the episode negatively affected his on-field performance that season.
After being dealt, Kruk blossomed into an All-Star as the team used him primarily at first base. Kruk played in the All-Star Game in 1991, 1992, and 1993. In his 1993 appearance at the Midsummer Classic, he had a memorable at bat when he flailed wildly at 98 mile per hour fastballs from Seattle Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson. Johnson's first pitch flew over Kruk's head to the backstop, leading Kruk to feign heart palpitations and remark "That boy throws too hard and he's too wild. He could kill someone."
Chicago White Sox
Moving to the American League to serve as a designated hitter, Kruk signed with the Chicago White Sox, batting .308/.399/.390. On July 30, 1995, in a game at Baltimore's Camden Yards stadium, Kruk singled and retired standing on first base, taking himself out of the game never to play again.
|Years active||2001 – present|
|Title||Baseball Tonight Analyst|
|Website||http://www.espnmediazone3.com/us/2010/04/kruk_john/ John Kruk ESPN Bio|
- "Have you seen the rigors of ESPN at 3 o'clock in the morning when a guy blows a save on the west coast and you have to stick around for another two hours? And then try to go through the Taco Bell with John Kruk? That ain't fun. I mean, basically, we don't have any taco salad back there with John Kruk. Everybody should, at some point in their life, you wanna think about tough times, is being around him at 2 o'clock in the morning when he's hungry. That's not good."
Honors and awards
- In 2003—the final year of Veterans Stadium—Philadelphia Phillies fans voted Kruk as the first baseman on the Phillies All-Vet Team (1971–2003).
- On August 12, 2011, Kruk was inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame.
- John Kruk 1988 Topps baseball card, card number 596.
- Harki, Gary. "Baseball star John Kruk one of many fooled by bank robber", The Charleston Gazette, August 5, 2008.
- "Jerry Crasnick: Starting 9 -- Memorable moments in Randy Johnson's career - ESPN". ESPN. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Baseball-Reference.com Index Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2011, Retired (or inactive) Players, (requiring HR=100)
- Rys, Richard. "John Kruk", Philadelphia (magazine), June 2007. Accessed March 25, 2011. "Another surprise, at least to us, is that he lives in Mount Laurel, keeping such a low profile that Exit Interview didn’t even know he was still here."
- John Kruk and taco salad? He prefers the Grand Slam at Denny's
- Parrillo, Ray (August 13, 2011). "Kruk takes his place on Wall of Fame". Philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
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