Back on Nov. 2, the Phillies had a void at hitting coach after the dismissal of Steve Henderson at the end of the season. The Phils didn’t have to look too hard in filling that void, since the man replacing Henderson resided in the broadcast booth for most of their games. Now that Matt Stairs will be critiquing the swings of the Phillies’ future, the team needed a new voice, and they found it last week when hiring former Phillie John Kruk as a television color commentator.
The Krukker will be an asset in the broadcast booth. His “tell it like it is” style should appeal to Phillies fans and make watching the broadcast that much more enjoyable. Kruk did tremendous work with ESPN as one of its top baseball authorities for 12 years. Listening to Krukky and Schmidt on the weekends (if the Phils choose to pair them with Tom McCarthy) should be interesting to say the least, given their respective personalities.
Since Kruk is a member of the Phillies once again, let’s take a walk down memory lane remembering some of Kruk’s finest moments.
Kruk’s five hits boost Phils in slugfest
The single-best game for Kruk as a Phillie came on July 27, 1993, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Phils scored early and often off Cardinals’ starter Joe Magrane. The first two innings resulted in seven runs, and Kruk contributed with two singles, one in each frame. The first baseman would add three more hits, two singles and a double, en route to a 5-for-5 day plating home three runs. Kruk was always dependable in a multitude of ways. He could be the table-setter of an inning, ripping a single to get a rally started, or put the finishing touches on a rally driving in the runs himself. That’s probably the best way to describe the Krukker: dependable.
Kruk completes 11-run comeback with pinch-hit home run
On Aug. 20, 1990, the Phils headed into the top of eighth down 11-1 against the Dodgers. To make the score somewhat respectable, the Phils put up two-spot in the top of the eighth. Still the Phils didn’t settle, as they surprised the Dodgers for nine runs in the top of the ninth for a miraculous 12-11 win. Krukky was right in the middle of it, of course, by completing the comeback with a pinch-hit, three-run homer
Wall of Fame Induction
Kruk, who carried a career average of .309 for the Phils, spent six seasons in Philadelphia, three of which resulted in consecutive all-star appearances (1991-93). Kruk, of course, was an integral part of the surprise 1993 team that reached the World Series. Kruk was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Aug. 12, 2011.
1993 All Star Game
John Kruk started the 1993 All Star Game at first base for the National League, and according to his standards, he had a good at bat against the game’s most feared pitcher, Randy Johnson. Kruk struck out miserably against the Big Unit, but all he wanted to do was “live” after the first pitch whizzed over his head. And he did that. I’ll venture to guess that was Kruk’s only acceptable strikeout in his 10-year career.
Although not one specific “moment” per say, this video accurately depicts what Kruk was really known for. He was an out-of-shape goofball who can keep a locker room loose … and oh yeah, hit .300 or so. That was what John Kruk was really known for.
Welcome back, Krukker!