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Mike Krukow
Pitcher
Born: January 21, 1952 (1952-01-21) (age 57)
Long Beach, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 6, 1976 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
June 4, 1989 for the San Francisco Giants
Career statistics
Record     124-117
Earned run average     3.90
Strikeouts     1478
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Star (NL): 1986
  • 20 wins with Giants in 1986

Michael Edward (Mike) Krukow (born January 21, 1952 in Long Beach, California) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. He is currently a television color commentator for the San Francisco Giants.

Contents

Early life

He played college ball for the Cal Poly Mustangs. Though his collegiate eligibility was cut short, he still holds the school record for career earned run average at 1.94 and is tied for most shutouts in a season with 5.

Major league career

Krukow was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 8th round of the 1973 draft. Krukow played Major League baseball for the Chicago Cubs (1976–1981), the Philadelphia Phillies (1982) and the San Francisco Giants (1983–1989). He batted and threw right-handed.

Krukow had a solid career in the major leagues. In 1982, after six years with the Cubs, he was dealt to Philadelphia for pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larson and outfielder Keith Moreland.

The right-handed starter was second only to Steve Carlton in wins, posting a 13-11 record and an impressive 3.12 ERA, but despite this success, the Phillies sent Krukow, Mark Davis and Charlie Penigar to the San Francisco Giants in December 1982 in a trade for Joe Morgan and reliever Al Holland. The trade helped Philadelphia win the National League pennant in 1983, but it also gave San Francisco two arms that would become a big part of the Giants' success in the late 1980s.

Krukow's best season was in 1986, posting a record of 20-9 with a 3.05 ERA pitching for the San Francisco Giants. Krukow finished third in that year's NL Cy Young Award voting behind Mike Scott and Fernando Valenzuela. Krukow was selected to the National League All-Star team that season. He was awarded the Willie Mac Award in both 1985 and 1986 honoring his spirit and leadership. In 1987, Krukow helped lead the Giants to their first division championship in 16 years.

On June 30, 1989, Krukow underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder after spending parts of three seasons on the disabled list for what was believed to be bursitis. He retired in March 1990. In his 14-season career, Krukow posted a 124-117 record with 1,478 strikeouts and a respectable 3.90 ERA in 2190.1 innings pitched.

Broadcaster

After his playing career, Krukow became a radio and television sportscaster. Mike Krukow began broadcasting as an occasional color analyst for KNBR radio in 1990 and became a full-time broadcaster in 1994. He is a five-time Emmy award winner. "Kruk," who was named as the starting right-handed pitcher to the 1980s Giants All- Decade Team in a vote by Bay Area media in 1999, is noted for his deep knowledge of the game and tremendous sense of humor.[1]

Part of the San Francisco Giants broadcasting team, Krukow is half of the duo dubbed "Kruk and Kuip," along with partner Duane Kuiper, a former Giants' infielder. Krukow and Kuiper tape a game day commentary ("Kruk and Kuip on baseball") for KNBR radio as part of the Giants' pre-game radio coverage. Notably, though Kruk was a pitcher and Kuiper was a position player, Kruk has five career home runs, four more than Kuip (who managed only one in his career despite having over 3,000 at-bats).

"Kruk" is known for his unique baseball vocabulary, especially his signature phrase when an opposing team's rookie hitter strikes out:

"Grab some pine, meat!"

Although the term "meat" technically refers to a team's rookie hitter, Krukow will often use the term to reference a batter who strikes out on a nasty pitch or looks bad or silly in the process.

The phrase "grab some pine" comes from the implication that after a hitter strikes out he will go take a seat on the bench in the dugout, which is traditionally made of pine. The term "meat" refers to a rookie player in the sense that he is "fresh meat".

He is also known for opening post-game wrap-ups of extremely close or stressful games with the phrase:

"Just another - ha ha ha ha - laugher!"

In addition, Krukow is often teased by his broadcasting colleagues throughout the major leagues for having "majestic hair".

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The Barry Bonds steroid controversy

Prior to Barry Bonds indictment for perjury (in late 2007) and inclusion in George J. Mitchell's report regarding steroids in Major League Baseball (released on December 13, 2007), Krukow staunchly defended Bonds against allegations of Bonds' steroid use as described in Game of Shadows (a 2006 book about performance-enhancing drug use among high level athletes). Krukow even went so far as to publicly describe pitcher Curt Schilling as a "horse's ass" in response to Schilling's own public reference to Bonds' steroid usage.

The "Krukow Kurse"

Major League Baseball has a number of legends (Sports-related curses) used to explain a team's failure to win the World Series over an extended period of time. The Boston Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino (the Red Sox went more than eighty years without a World Series win), the Chicago Cubs have the Curse of the Billy Goat (the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908) and some say the San Francisco Giants have the "Krukow Kurse".[2][3][4] (the Giants have not won a World Series since they moved to San Francisco). The "Krukow Kurse" pseudo-legend arises from the fact that while Krukow has historically been optimistic about the Giants' chances at the beginning of each season, the team has not lived up to Krukow's predictions for them. Once the broadcaster ceases his lofty preseason predictions (say the few who subscribe to the legend) the Giants will actually win the World Series. Part of the lore of the Krukow Kurse arises from the fact that Krukow was originally drafted by, and played for, the Chicago Cubs (a team that is itself hexed by Curse of the Billy Goat). The Curse of the Billy Goat indicates, among other things, that former Cubs players who move on to other teams will inevitably curse the new team (the Ex-Cubs Factor).

"Eliminate me"

On the June 14, 2005, game against the Minnesota Twins, Krukow noticed that Twins' announcer Bert Blyleven, himself a former Major League Baseball pitcher, used the telestrator to circle fans at their request for recognition. Krukow developed a spin off of this "Circle Me, Bert" feature by using his telestrator to "eliminate" spectators, whiting them out — either those who also request the treatment by waving "Eliminate Me, Kruk" signs onscreen, or because the fan or fans are behaving in ways he dislikes, such as talking on a cell phone during a game, muffing a foul ball, or wearing Los Angeles Dodgers gear at the Giants' home, AT&T Park.

Video games

Krukow and Kuiper can be heard as the commentators in Electronic Arts video games MVP Baseball 2003, 2004 and 2005. They include Krukow's familiar "grab some pine, meat" quote.

Personal

Krukow resides in San Luis Obispo, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children, Jarek, Baker, Tessa, Chase and Weston. In his spare time he enjoys reading, bicycling, golfing and drinking Coronas on the beach.

Reference notes

  1. ^ "Giants broadcasters". KNBR.com. http://www.knbr.com/giants/broadcaster.html. Retrieved 16 May 2007.  
  2. ^ Interweb News Service.[1].Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
  3. ^ Singlewhammy.com.[2].Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
  4. ^ San Francisco Magazine.[3]. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.

See also

External links


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