February 22, 1995 |
The bottle manufacturing plant in West Virginia where John Kruk's mother and father used to work was closed down recently, putting 250 people out of work. That, Kruk suggested, is real life. That, he reminds himself, is why there is no need to feel sorry for himself. Sure, about this time last year, he was discovered to have testicular cancer. Surgery and subsequent radiation therapy left him weak for the entire season. Sure, the defending National League champion Phillies struggled early and had long been out of the race by the time the strike halted play after the games of Aug. 11. Sure, a combination of concern over his health and the desire of teams to slash their payrolls led the Phillies to decide not to re-sign one of their most popular players and meant that, even now, a career .300 hitter who is only 34 years old is still unsigned and uncertain about his future in baseball.
December 15, 1994 |
The Phillies abandoned their off-season caution yesterday with a vault- rattling bang, signing free agent Gregg Jefferies to a four-year, $20 million contract that almost certainly ended John Kruk's colorful Philadelphia career. Jefferies, 27, the National League's all-star first baseman, who hit .325 for St. Louis last season, was immediately installed as the Phillies' No. 3 hitter, which will give them two switch-hitters (Dave Hollins is the other) at the heart of their lineup when and if the 1995 baseball season begins.
October 31, 1994 |
John Kruk, free-agent baseball player, shrugged at a question about his career plans. "I haven't thought about it much," he said, casually. "I didn't even know I'd filed (for free agency) until I came home and my wife told me. She'd seen it on television. I said, 'Well, I'll be damned.' I don't believe I'm going to shoot myself over the subject. " Now, it could be that the Phillies first baseman and resident curmudgeon doesn't feel the need to ponder that issue at the moment.
October 27, 1994 |
Phillies first baseman John Kruk was among nine players who filed for free agency yesterday, raising the total to 120. Also filing were Chicago White Sox outfielder Dan Pasqua, Cleveland pitcher Jeff Russell, Oakland pitchers Bob Welch and Bobby Witt, Chicago Cubs pitcher Chuck Crim, Houston outfielders Kevin Bass and Milt Thompson and San Diego pitcher Bill Krueger. Free agents may begin signing on Sunday.
September 26, 1994 |
There's no postseason ahead, and right now, prospects for a normal 1995 season look as bad as Bud Selig's haircut. So for the Phillies and their 27 companion clubs in the nation's most beloved monopoly, it's difficult to slice through all the uncertainty and plan for the future. Nevertheless, they have no choice. Even though they don't know whether they'll be contending with a salary cap or not, four-year free agents or not, replacement players or not, there are issues that keep Phillies officials awake at night.
August 12, 1994 |
One moment Ricky Jordan was doing something electric. The next, he felt like a guy about to get strapped in a chair and shot full of juice. Yes, it was a strange night all the way around at Veterans Stadium during, and after, especially after, what might have been the Phillies' final game of a mostly forgettable season. There was good pitching, in part because there was disinterested hitting. There were good plays, along with some clunkers. There were people parading through the stands displaying anti-strike banners.
August 8, 1994 |
John Kruk shook Ricky Bottalico's hand yesterday and offered parting words that spoke more to the Philadelphia first baseman's future than the demoted reliever's. "The next time I see you, I'll be hitting against you," Kruk said before retreating back to the trainer's room. In other words, when Bottalico returns to the Phillies, Kruk believes he'll be playing elsewhere. As much as he would like to stay in Philadelphia, he just doesn't think it's likely to happen. There are a few other Phillies in positions similar to Kruk's.
August 7, 1994 |
Memo to the owners: Baseball isn't dying. The Phillies are. "When you're in one of these funks, it's hard to get out," shortstop Kevin Stocker said. At least this time they didn't resemble some hapless Harlem Globetrotters opponent. John Kruk's two-run, pinch-hit homer - the first sign of life in days - tied the score in the bottom of the ninth and temporarily brightened the mood of a nasty Veterans Stadium crowd. But the scorching Montreal Expos turned Doug Jones' two-base throwing error in the 11th inning into the winning run and earned a 4-3 victory last night.
July 30, 1994 |
John Kruk had convinced himself that no matter what the diagnosis, he would not submit to any more radiation treatments. "I wasn't going to go through that again," Kruk said yesterday, after returning from Philadelphia, where he'd learned that the lumps he'd discovered in his body earlier in the week were not cancerous. "I would have let it take its course and died," said the Phillies first baseman, who underwent radiation treatments for testicular cancer last spring. "That was awful," he said.
July 29, 1994 |
The most severe condition John Kruk was suffering from when he left a Phillies road trip Wednesday and returned here for a medical examination was fear. The Phillies first baseman, concerned that abdominal pain and swelling might be related to the testicular cancer he was diagnosed with 4 1/2 months ago, has a strained muscle in his abdomen, doctors said yesterday. The condition is not related to his cancer. "Let me just tell you something about people with cancer," said Phillip Marone, director of the Sports Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.