Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#331 Mike Krukow - Philapdelphia Phillies

This is Mike Krukow's 7th Topps card but his only base card in a Philly uniform.  You don't think pitchers put a lot of strain on their arms?  Put your arm in the same position as Krukow's right wing.  Not too comfortable is it?

Player: Mike Krukow was an 8th round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 1973 draft and after posting ERA's in the mid to low three's in four minor league seasons he was called up to the big leagues late in 1976.  He allowed four runs in 4.1 innings in his September trial.

Krukow made 33 starts for the Cubs in '77 with a 4.40 ERA (100 ERA+) and won eight against fourteen defeats.  He didn't work deep into many games completing just one and logging 172 frames.  When '78 rolled around Krukow found himself the fifth starter in a four man rotation.  He was used sparingly in April and May and was sent down to the minors for a month before returning in late June when the Cubs returned to a five man set.  He won nine, lost three, and posted a 3.90 ERA (103 ERA+) in 138 innings.

Krukow settled in as an average to below average inning eater the next few years.  The next three his WHIP ranged from 1.38 to 1.53 with adjusted ERA's from 90 to 101.  After the '81 season he was dealt to the Phillies in a trade that sent Keith Moreland and Dickie Noles to Chicago.

His '82 season in Philly saw him work 208 innings, win 13 games, and post a 3.12 ERA.  All of which were new career bests for the 6'4" righty.  His time in Philadelphia was limited to just one season as they flipped him and Mark Davis to the Giants in return for Joe Morgan and Al Holland.

Now pitching in his home state, the Long Beach native looked more like the Cubs version than the Philly version.  He won 11 games in both '83 and '84 but was generally easy to hit allowing an NL high 234 hits in '84.

With pitching guru Roger Craig taking the reins in San Fran, Krukow ditched his slider in favor of the split-finger pitch that Craig taught his disciples.  The results was an out pitch to both left and right handed batters and his WHIP dropped to 1.156 in '85 and 1.057 the following year.  The '86 season would prove to be Krukow's finest as he won 20 games with a 3.05 ERA (116 ERA+) in 245 innings.  He finished 3rd in CY voting, 15th in MVP, and represented the Giants in his lone All-Star appearance.

Whether it was the fact that he was now in his mid-thirties or coming off a career high inning total, Krukow was never the same.  He pitched through shoulder pain the rest of his career, never topping 168 innings or seven wins in his last three years.  He made his lone postseason appearance in the '87 NLCS tossing a complete game against the Cardinals allowing just two runs in the win.

After the '89 season he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and retired the following spring.  His final stats include a 124-117 record, 3.90 ERA (96 ERA+) in 14 seasons.

Flipside:  It's amazing what leaving Wrigley Field will do for a pitcher's statistics.

Oddball:  Krukow hit five home runs in his career which is four more than his Giants broadcast partner Duane Kuiper.  The light hitting infielder had plenty of opportunity batting 3,754 times to Krukow's 819.

History: Krukow was known as a battler and he was able to have a decent career marked by a big season under Roger Craig.  Krukow finished with 21.5 WAR, with four season between 2.0 - 2.3 and three more between 3.0 - 3.4.
These days, he and Kuiper are a popular duo among Giants fans.  Krukow gets a lot of mileage from his baseball jargon, some of which has been assembled here.


  1. Is there a reason you stopped doing your blog?

  2. Back at it. I'll try to post more often than once every 11 months! Thanks for reading.