Friday’s Match: Wayne Comer vs John Kruk

Thursday’s winner is Jon Jay; he will go on to face the winner of today’s match.

Friday

Today we have Wayne Comer (Shenandoah 1961) vs John Kruk (New Market 1981).

  • Wayne Comer arrived here by upending Greg Pryor in the first round. His writeup: “Those who live in the Shenandoah Valley probably already know about Wayne Comer. A native of Page County, Comer played for the Shenandoah Indians in 1961, and was signed as a free agent by the Washington Senators before the 1962 season. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers in March, 1963, and saw time in Detroit in 1967 and 1968- and winning a title with the ’68 squad. Like Pryor, Comer saw action in “only” one World Series game, but got a hit in his only at-bat. Just following the series, Comer was scooped up by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. He hit 15 home runs for the Pilots in 1969. He also spent time in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers and Senators in 1970, and back in Detroit in 1972. He hit .229/.331/.336 in over 800 plate appearances. He returned to the Valley after his career, and was a basketball referee in the winter for many years- many times sharing the duties with his brother, Buddy. Wayne also coached high school baseball for several years at Spotswood and Page County. He was elected to the VBL Hall of Fame in 2017. (And by the way, his grandson, Seth, played for the Woodstock River Bandits in 2019.)”
  • John Kruk is pretty well known as an interesting guy. For example, he famously said, “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a professional baseball player,” and he was batting in the 1993 All-Star game when Randy Johnson fired a fastball over Kruk’s head. He was visably relieved that he wasn’t hit by the pitch, and then he promptly struck out on three pitches, much to the delight of the other players. On July 30, 1995, he reportedly told his manager that if he got a hit in his first at-bat, he was retiring. Sure enough, he singled, was lifted for a pinch hitter for his next at-bat, and Kruk never played again. (He retired with a batting average of exactly .300. If he had made an out, his career average would have been .299974.) Over ten years and 3,897 career at-bats, Kruk hit .300/.397/.446, with 199 doubles, 34 triples, 100 home runs, and an outstanding 649/701 BB/K ratio. He was a three-time All-Star, received MVP votes in those same three years, and finished 7th in the Rookie of the Year award voting in 1986. One of his best years was in 1993, when the Philadelphia Phillies surprised MLB by advancing to the World Series. Kruk hit .316/.430/.475 that summer, with 100 runs scored, 33 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, and 85 RBIs. He walked 111 times against only 87 strikeouts. He went on to be an ESPN broadcaster after his career, and he was inducted into the VBL Hall-of Fame in 2017.

Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL to vote! (Closes Wednesday morning)

And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!

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