Saturday’s winner is Brett Gardner. He moves on to the final four!
Today we have Yonder Alonso (Luray 2006) against John Kruk (New Market 1981).
- Alonso defeated Brandon Inge and Steve Finley to get here. His writeup: “Alonso was picked 7th overall in the 2008 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of Miami. He was blocked by Joey Votto, so the Reds eventually traded him to San Diego in late 2011, where he spent four seasons before being traded to the Oakland A’s in December, 2015. It as in Oakland where Alonso fulfilled some of the promise he had flashed before, when, in 2017, he had his best season, slashing .266/.365/.501 (split between Oakland and Seattle) in 451 at-bats, with 22 doubles and 28 home runs. He was named an All-Star that season. He’s bounced around a ton recently, spending 2018 with Cleveland, and 2019 with both the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies. He signed this offseason with the Atlanta Braves. In his ten years in the majors, Alonso has hit a total of .259/.332/.404, with 181 doubles, exactly 100 home runs, and 426 RBIs.”
- Kruk beat Wayne Comer and Jon Jay. “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 Tuesday 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!