Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

John Kruk, a fan favorite in Philly, will rejoin the team as part of their TV broadcast crew in 2017.

John Kruk must enjoy his relationship with the Phillies and the fans. After being both a player and a minor league coach in the organization, "Krukker" comes back to the team as a broadcaster.

After John Kruk famously ended his playing career by getting a base-hit to raise his career average to an even .300 and then retiring in the middle of a game, he returned to Philadelphia to pursue a career in coaching. That turned out to not be to his liking, so he entered the world of broadcasting with ESPN, where he enjoyed his time. At the conclusion of the 2016 season, Kruk and ESPN parted ways amicably, which turned out to be good timing for the former Phillies first baseman. Shortly after the split, Matt Stairs left the broadcast booth to become the Phillies new hitting coach, opening a spot in the TV booth for Kruk.

With Kruk's popularity in Philadelphia, it's really a match made in Heaven. Kruk will work an unannounced number of games, splitting time with Ben Davis and joining Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt when he is on the Sunday home game broadcasts during the season. Tom McCarthy returns as the play-by-play man, with Greg Murphy doing the from-the-field reporting during games. Kruk played six seasons in Philadelphia after being acquired along with Randy Ready for outfielder Chris James in a deal with San Diego in June of 1989. After his stint with the Phillies, Kruk signed with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent and played in 45 games with them before retiring in the middle of a game in Baltimore. Kruk was the starting designated hitter in the game and singled with one out in the top of the first. Kruk then removed himself from the game and announced that he was leaving because he was retiring, with his average at exactly .300 for his career. 

Interesting thing though is that most people forget that Kruk had been in a severe slump, going 0-for-16 over the previous week. The slide dropped his career average from .30129 to .30005 coming into the game at Baltimore, meaning that Kruk could have retired before the game and been a career .300 hitter. Had he not gotten a hit in that first at-bat, his average would have dropped to .29997, which would have rounded up to .300 in the record books. Had Kruk stayed in the game and gone 1-for-4 on the day, his average would have stood at .30000 for his career, but he wasn't taking any chances. The hit brought his average to .30023 and he was gone.

Somewhat ironically, the guy Kruk is replacing, had a much less heroic end to his playing career in 2011. Stairs was a member of the Washington Nationals at the time and was called on to pinch-hit for pitcher Tyler Clippard against the Dodgers with the Nats leading 3-2 in the top of the ninth. The Dodgers made a pitching change replacing Mike MacDougal with Hung-Chih Kuo and the Nats countered with Jesus Flores batting for Stairs. Flores walked and scored on a Jerry Hairston home run and Washington won 7-2. Eight days later, with Stairs not getting into another game, he was released and never played again in the majors.

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