Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #38 JOHN KRUK


I AIN'T AN ATHLETE, LADY ...




... WAS THE GREAT TITLE TO HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • John Kruk's career numbers were as round as his body, conservatively listed at 5-10, 200 pounds during his prime. Kruker played in 1,200 games over 10 seasons, hit 100 home runs and batted .300. In '93, he was the leader of the Phillies' Macho Row, a grimy bunch who unseated the Braves as NL kings. Gregarious and self-deprecating, Kruk has become a successful announcer. The game needs more personalities like his.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Kruk stole the show in the All-Star Game on July 13, 1993, in Baltimore. In the top of the third, Kruk ''dug in'' against Mariners lefty wild man #154 Randy Johnson. Let's let Bob Costas and Kruk take it from here:




DEFINING SEASON

  • Kruk was a big part of the Phillies' magical '93 season when he hit .316 with 14 homers and 85 RBI. His All-Star appearance was his third consecutive. In the six-game World Series, he hit .348 and drove in four runs. Homered and drove in five in the six-game NLCS.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Would you believe he twice reached double-digits in steals? He did, with 18 in '87 and 10 in '90.
  2. After coming up with the Padres and hitting 20 homers with 91 RBI in '87, Kruk was traded to the Phillies in June '89 with Randy Ready for Chris James.
  3. During the off-season in '87, Kruk rented a house with a childhood friend and the friend's acquaintance. What Kruk didn't know was these two moonlighted as armed robbers, and Kruk didn't find out until the FBI questioned him in February '88 after the two were on the run. The bad guys weren't apprehended until September. Until then, Kruk said he lived in fear because the friend thought Kruk had ratted them out.
  4. Diagnosed with testicular cancer in '94. That and knee problems contributed to a .302/5/32 year, and he became a free agent at the conclusion of the season.
  5. Signed with the White Sox and retired on July 30, 1995, after singling against the Orioles at the scene of his defining moment: Camden Yards. Fitting end to a colorful career.

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