John Kruk on David Letterman's show, 1992

Dave: Our next guest says that comparisons of him to Babe Ruth have less to do with his hitting and more to do with his eating. Ladies and gentlemen, from the Philadelphia Phillies please welcome All-Star first baseman and National League batting leader, John Kruk. John, come on out here. Good to see ya, how are ya? John Kruk, ladies and gentlemen.

John: First time I've been cheered in New York.

D: It's a good feeling, isn't it?

J: It's rare.

D: Tell me, how long have you been playing major league baseball?

J: This is my seventh year, thank goodness. Two more and I think I'm going to be done.

D: Noooo. Nine years and that's a career for you?

J: Yeah, that's long enough. It's tiring!

D: You started with the Padres? And then to the Phillies. Why don't you describe for us, what a day is like for you during the baseball season. A typical day for you.

J: When we play a day game, I think I wake up about 7:30, roll over, turn the alarm off, go back to sleep until probably about 8:30 and then go to the ballpark.

D: You get to the ballpark early.

J: Yeah, I like to get there early, that way I can prepare myself for the big event. [laughter] And with our team it is an event.

D: Alright, so you get to the ball park, and what do you do there?

J: Well, I usually eat about three or four hot dogs, with cheese, ketchup and mayonnaise. [Dave laughs] And you know as well as I do, every time after you eat a nice meal like that, you have to take a nap. So I usually go in the training room and-

D: Go into the training room, and go to sleep.

J: Lay down... probably, we start batting practice about 11, 11:30, and I usually wake up around 11, 11:30, I still don't have my uniform on so I'm usually late. they either fine me or give me a slap on the wrist, most of the time it's just a slap on the wrist. So I go out and hit a few and catch a few and then go back in and lay down and get my back rubbed.

D: Yeah. And then the game begins... what do you do during the game?

J: That was the fun part; now the really horrifying part of the day comes. It's a nightmare, Dave.

D: You're having a pretty good year, you're hitting about .353, is that it?

J: Something in that vicinity.

D: But the Philadelphia Phillies are not doing very well. [John laughs] What is wrong with the Phillies, as you see it?

J: Well, I--we had a big meeting about this, about not talking negative about our team, but... it's like Mitch Williams said, the best thing about our team, about our pitching staff, is that we hit good. So, if that's any indication of what's wrong with our team... but I'm not really allowed to say, so you can blame Mitch for that.

D: Are you optimistic for the rest of the season, for your team's chances?

J: To finish the season? [laughter]

D: Yeah, yeah, do you think you have it in you to finish out the schedule?

J: Yeah, I really do think we're going to suck it up, try to get through October. Yeah, we're going to make it. Some of us might not. I don't know if Lenny might make it. You know him from--he came on this show.

D: Yeah, he played here for the Mets.

J: Yeah. He'll make it.

D: You played in-is this your first All-Star game or your second All-Star game?

J: Well it was the first one I played in, but the second one that I've been in.

D: You must have been very excited to be a part of that, huh?

J: Yeah, it's thrilling. Last year was a lot of fun, but I didn't get to play. I don't know why. We got beat again, so I don't know why he couldn't just stick me in there to screw up like everyone else did. This was more fun this year because I got to play, and it took all the pressure off, because we were losing about 102 to 6. So, you know, promptly dropped a fly ball, it was a lot of fun.

D: Was it my imagination, or were you not wearing the correct, the regulation uniform? Was there something wrong with your uniform?

J: Our equipment man-see, we just got done playing a series in San Diego, the all-star game was in San Diego, so our equipment man packed up all our stuff and took it back to Philadelphia. So, we had nothing to wear, Darren Daulton and I. So, the pitching coach of the Braves is a real good friend of mine, so I just used his uniform, I figured, you know, he's built like me. So I just used his uniform, and it got a lot, got a lot of recognition.

D: Yeah, I would think so. The folks in Philadelphia, weren't they offended that you were representing the Atlanta Braves? Is that a problem?

J: They might not have known. No, I just wore it for the workout, in the game I had my regular uniform

D: Oh, I see. You know, we have some videotape of a couple of plays, to give people some idea of what you're capable of when you between the lines, there. Go ahead and roll this, Hal, and John if you can just tell folks what you're looking at. That's you sliding into second, right? [Footage, first at regular speed, then in slow motion, of John sliding headfirst into second and kind of rolling over violently when he gets to the base.]

J: Yeah, that hurt. Watch, that's-- [crowd goes "ohhh!"] See now, all those announcers talk about the original headfirst slide, but that, that's the original.

D: And what's this? This is you making a fine play there in left field. [Footage: Bobby Bonilla on second, batter hits a fly ball to left, John nonchalantly makes a one-handed catch on the warning track and starts to walk in.]

J: Yeah, there was only one out though. [Footage: John suddenly throws the ball back in; Bonilla rounds third and scores. Crowd goes wild; Dave is laughing hysterically.]

D: You thought there were two outs?

J: Yeah, actually, you know... when you're out there as long as we are sometimes, it's hard to keep track of 1-2-3.

D: You forget. Look at the scoreboard every now and then! We'll do a commercial, and then we'll be back here with John Kruk. [I don't have the bit after the commercial, but it was basically "Thanks for coming John, thanks other guests, tomorrow night we have blah blah blah."]

Read the transcript of the 1993 appearance, or go back to the main page.