For a teenage kid in the early 90s, John Kruk was the man. The hair (hey, it was the 90s), the beer, the obviously fun and wild lifestyle, all while playing the best sport in the world for the hometown team, culminating in a damn near miraculous World Series run.
And you know what, after all this time, he still is. The Phillies don’t disagree, as Friday night they made Kruk their newest inductee in the team Wall of Fame.
The Krukker epitomized the ’93 Phillies team that captured the hearts of everyone on their way to eventual heartbreak. Despite the unhappy ending that year, Kruk’s time with the Phillies will be one of memories soaked in Budweiser, the hopes of an entire fanbase riding on the dangling curls of a dirty blond mullet.
As a Phillie, Kruk hit .309, compiling 790 hits in 744 games. His amazing personality combined with an ability to hit despite looking like a keg leaguer endeared him to the point of cult status. Darren Daulton may have been the big man on the team, the handsome and dynamic leader of men, but it was Kruk who was the embodiment of that great era. Lenny Dykstra came close, but his gruff demeanor stands pale in the face of Kruk’s charisma. He made it fun to root for the common man made good, gut and all.
Introducing Kruk at the on-field ceremony at Citizens Bank Park was last year’s Wall of Fame inductee and fellow ’93 legend Daulton. After telling some slightly off color boozing stories, Daulton finally deferred to the man of the hour.
Kruk, after first making a crack about cleaning up his act, opened his speech with the type of clearly sincere comment that will ensure his love affair with Philadelphia will live on a long, long time.
“This is the greatest place I’ve ever been.”
It’s a great speech very much worth listening to. Check it out below, from csnphilly.com:
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