John Kruk, the former Phillies player who parlayed an affable personality into a successful television career, will return to the Phillies in 2017 as a broadcaster.
Kruk will be one of the team's five broadcasters, who are employees of Comcast SportsNet, a network that the Phillies own 25 percent of under their new television rights agreement. A source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed Kruk's hiring, which was first reported by CSNPhilly.com, website of the network that carries the team's games.
Kruk spent 12 years at ESPN before leaving in October. He was both a color commentator and studio analyst at ESPN. The two parties agreed to part ways, an ESPN spokesman said. Kruk, who will turn 55 in February, spent the 2003 season on the Phillies broadcasts. He will join Tom McCarthy, Mike Schmidt, Ben Davis, and Greg Murphy in the booth. Kruk replaces Matt Stairs, who was hired in October as the team's hitting coach.
Kruk was a three-time All-Star in his six seasons for the Phillies and was a member of Macho Row, the colorful characters who powered the Phillies to an unlikely 1993 National League championship. Kruk and his self-deprecating humor - which was highlighted on several appearances during his playing career on the Late Show with David Letterman - seemed to be a perfect fit for television.
In 2001, Kruk spent the season as double-A Reading's hitting coach before moving into broadcasting.