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The ten weirdest career-ending performances of all time

Oct 17, 2011, 1:01 PM EDT

John Kruk - 89 Topps

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times is at it again. Last time out he listed the ten worst career-ending performances. This time he trains his historical eye at the ten weirdest performances to end a career.

The first one he lists — John Kruk’s — is the best.  I don’t think I ever knew this, but apparently Kruk stopped playing exactly when he did — and I mean right down to the last mid-game at bat — because he wanted to preserve his .300 career batting average.  And as Chris reminds us, Kruk tore Jose Reyes a new one for asking out of his last game this season in order to ensure his batting title.

A sports talking head maintaining an inconsistent position on a given topic based on the identity of the player involved?!  That’s unpossible!

  1. halladaysbiceps - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Look at John Kruk in that picture — only a face a mother could love.

    On a serious note, Kruk was known in his playing days to detest the media. That whole 93′ Phillies club did. And now, he’s part of the media. Go figure.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      Hah, even funnier that Mitch Williams is an analyst at MLBN, then.

  2. Jack Marshall - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    His criteria for the list was “prominent careers with the most pathetic endings.” Surely Manny Ramirez earned his way onto THAT list!

  3. Kyle - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    That kind of hot-dogging is probably why Kruk never made it to the Hall of Fame.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      that, combined with his lack of a Hall of Fame career…

    • hasbeen5 - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      Probably had more to do with the hot-dogging he did at the buffet table.

  4. hansob - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Kruk: “Yeah, but when I do it, it’s CUTE”

  5. thefalcon123 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Their is an answer to his Tom Gordon question. From the Seattle Times:

    Reliever Tom Gordon strained his left hamstring while making a tag at home plate and left Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Milwaukee. The 41-year-old Gordon threw a pitch over the head of Mike Cameron in the sixth inning and the Brewers’ Rickie Weeks took off from third base. Gordon covered the plate, caught catcher Miguel Montero’s throw and tagged out Weeks.

    Weeks slid into Gordon, who said he felt something as he slowed down.

    “Once I stopped, my leg really hurt me. Good thing is, it’s still on my body,” Gordon said.

    • kopy - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      Interesting. So it was erroneous to not charge Gordon with a wild pitch in that game. To be honest, I kind of assumed it was more likely that this was the case, and not some very obscure baseball play. Interesting that Gordon left because he got hurt and not because he was throwing wild pitches and letting runners move around the bases.

      • tolbuck - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

        You don’t get charged with a wild pitch if an advancing runner is thrown out, which is what happened on the play. The correct scoring decision was made.

  6. cur68 - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Well lookee there, being named “Jose Reyes” does seem to garner you all the crappy press in the world, even from guys who did the EXACT SAME FRIGGIN THING. Why am I not surprised? It’s always that most homophobic guy in the room who’s trying to hide something, always the biggest sinner screaming about sin. I wonder where Jose Reyes’s loud angry refutation of all the crap that’s been said about him is? Oh that’s right, being named “Jose Reyes” means you have too much class to slag another ballplayer.

  7. xmatt0926x - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    The Kruk/Reyes comparison is laughable at best. You can argue the merits of stopping your career at the perfect time to preserve a .300 batting average. I might come down against that as well but Jose Reyes was in direct competition with another athlete for that batting title and he took the low road to his cowardly victory. There is just no comparison even if what Kruk did comes off as somewhat vain. I don’t say this to defend Kruk either. He was a nasty and miserable turd while he played who now tries to come off as the loveable “everyman”.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      I might come down against that as well but Jose Reyes was in direct competition with another athlete for that batting title and he took the low road to his cowardly victory. There is just no comparison even if what Kruk did comes off as somewhat vain.

      Exactly! This never would have happened in previous times. What about Ted Williams!!! He never would have taken himself out for the sake of batting numbers.

      Oh wait, there was that one time in 1957
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS195709290.shtml

      • opiedamus - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

        Now, what you’ve got a do is find the article that talks about this….probably already burned, but it does have a certain peculiarity to it……don’t it?!?

        Nice find…may be time for me to squeeze into a pew @ ye ‘ol church…..

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

        Can’t take credit for it, Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus found it when this first went on.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      I have a difficult time arguing the merits of a player asking out of a game in order to preserve a personal accomplishment.

  8. theonlynolan - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    If memory serves me correct Kruk had suffered through a multitude of injuries that season. He was on the verge of retirement anyway so in my opinion it seems excusable.

    • cur68 - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:32 PM

      Right, and Jose Reyes was totally healthy all season, had an extended contract with the Mets, and the Mets were in tight race for the post season, had any number of tother awards and accolades for the team, and it wasn’t like Braun didn’t sit out a game that week thus preserving his numbers as they were…

      Jose Reyes needs to change his name to “Mike Young” and then all this goes away.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    I don’t think I ever knew this

    Cough Jeter sitting out is ok thread:
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/12/jeter-sitting-out-all-star-game-due-to-emotional-exhaustion-and-theres-nothing-wrong-with-that/

    The worst part was hearing Kruk meander on about how if people are voted in they should be there. Oh really Kruk, the player who took himself out a game and retired on the spot? He has a lot of balls* doing something like that and having this viewpoint.

    *(teehee)

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