100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 33 – John Kruk

John Kruk
First Baseman
1989-1994

Career w/Phillies: .306 AVG / 62 HR / 390 RBI / 33 SB

Like his other 1993 teammates, John Kruk’s career was hampered by injury. But when he was healthy, he was very good. Kruk arrived in Philadelphia with Randy Ready for emerging outfielder Chris James. While James never quite lived up to his promise, settling into a utility/DH role, Kruk became a three-time All Star with the Phillies. He did it by being a skilled hitter — a .291 average in 1990, .294 in 1991, .323 in 1992 and .316 in 1993. He also finished second in the National League in on-base percentage in ’92 and ’93. He was also a disciplined hitter, sometimes walking more than striking out and ending with a career ratio close to 1:1. Sadly, Kruk’s career was derailed in Spring Training 1994 when a pickoff throw by Mitch Williams hit Kruk in the groin. Kruk wasn’t only injured, but a testicle proved to be cancerous. He played little in ’94, the Phillies granted him free agency in 1995, and he signed up with the White Sox. On July 30, 1995, in Baltimore, Kruk — feeling bored with the game — struck a single. Then he took himself out of the game … and ended his career.

Comment: Nobody personified the 1993 Phils quite like Kruk — he was out of shape, dirty and nothing graceful. And he somehow found himself in the spotlight because of one lucky year. His greatness is abbreviated, but it isn’t lost.

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