There aren’t too many things that would make me scrap a planned post and write about something altogether different, but this morning’s announcement that John Kruk will be joining the Phillies Wall of Fame on August 12 trumps just about any other post I can conceive of, including the one inspired by the Fightins’ current series with the Marlins. I’m fairly certain I would write a full week’s worth of posts about Kruk and the baseball cards he appeared on* — he was the last Phillie I idolized before realizing I was getting too old for such behavior, so I have a lot to say about him. In fact, it’s probably no surprise that in the short life of this blog, this is the third time I’ve posted one of his cards.
I actually hunted through my entire collection trying to pick the right card to commemorate the moment. I literally considered every card I have before deciding that I would pick what is likely one of his first appearances on a baseball card as a Phillie. I say “likely” because I don’t actually know what the release dates were for his five Phillies cards that year: Fleer, Score and Topps updates were usually issued in September while Donruss’s Baseball’s Best was a summer release, as was the Phillies update to their Tastykake Team Issue. So, standing a 50-50 chance of picking correctly, I went with his Baseball Best card, #240.
Like all other Donruss cards of the era, the card includes information on how the Phillies acquired Kruk: he was obtained with Randy Ready in a trade for Chris James. At the time, James was the Phillies up-and-comer I was most excited about. In fact, I got his number on the very first Phillies jersey I ever bought: 18. However, in what was clearly a sign of prescience on my part, I requested only the number — I had the nameplate left off. I no longer have that jersey (I outgrew it and my dad now wears it on occasion), but the fact that it is somehow linked to Kruk is just one of those happy little coincidences in my world.
I wish I could attend the induction ceremony before the game on August 12, but a number of factors make it highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the next time I’m at Citizen’s Bank Park, I plan on getting my picture taken next to his plaque, while wearing my 1993 World Series jersey bearing his name and number. The Phillies will never retire #29 in his honor, but to me, it will always belong to him.
* In fact, I may do so as the induction ceremony approaches.