CHARLESTON, W.Va. — ESPN Commentator John Kruk, a former major league baseball player and a West Virginia native, will be back in the Mountain State this weekend to help host the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s 2013 Induction Ceremony in Charleston.

“I love, love, love the fact that I’m from West Virginia,” said Kruk on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Kruk was raised in Keyser and played baseball at Keyser High School, Potomac State College and Allegany Community College.

He started his professional baseball career with the San Diego Padres in 1981 and went on to play with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kruk now works as an analyst for ESPN, but is also an aspiring musician.  “We grew up on music,” he said of his musical roots.  “My mom played guitar and all my brothers, we just love music and, since I’ve gotten out and started playing and traveled around the country, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of country artists.”

Despite his career successes in other venues, he admitted he does get nervous on stage.  “I don’t worry about singing well enough.  I just worry about forgetting the words,” he said.

Kruk will co-host the induction ceremony for the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame with Mollie O’Brien.  It will originate from the Culture Center in Charleston and be broadcast live, statewide, on West Virginia Public Broadcasting stations starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Any chance I get to come back to West Virginia, I’ve got to take advantage of it,” said Kruk.

The 2013 inductees are Melvin and Ray Goins, Peter Marshall, Wayne Moss, Tim O’Brien, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Eleanor Steber and The Swan Silvertones.

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  • Paula

    I went to school with John, knew his dad, his brother and I agree he could be a real a-hole.
    Asked him for his autograph for a charity auction to raise money for our school and he gave me the same brush off about not "bothering" him.
    However I am trying benefit of the doubt and hope that he can see the error of his ways and really do some good for his home state. Be a proud West Virginian and do some real good for our state.

  • big bubba

    I remember John Kruk was a guest on an ESPN talk show several years ago. The topic of WVU football came up and Mr. Kruk bashed the football program and down graded the state of West Virginia in general. It would be nice if he could grace another state with his presence.

  • WVcoal

    Kruk is a great ambasador for WV. I think he's great.

  • mel

    I have known Johnny for many years, I have worked with Johnny, watched him play little league, high school and college baseball and beleive you me he can be a real a-hole!!

  • Chef Camille

    Kruky-- Keep it rolling brother!

  • D.P.

    I listened to his interview with Hoppy this a.m. and he seems like a "True Mountaineer" and is VERY PROUD of his WV Heritage!

    I'm sure he will do a very good job Saturday night and he sounds sincerely honored to be co-host of the event!

    I'm very much looking forward to the show Saturday night!!!

  • Roy Riggleman

    Favorite Kruk moment - 1993 all star game in Baltimore taking high heat from the Big Unit and then going down swinging in style.....

  • Bill

    For all the Kruk fans, listen up. I played baseball at Potomac State in 1990, the first year they brought baseball back to the school. The coach did not like me because I had long hair. Mr. Kruk showed up for practice one day at the Keyser HS field. He drove up in a Limo behind the backstop, had his bats in a golf bag and was wearing speedo pants and a T Shirt.(Imagine that) I was about the 4th to face him and I struck him out in 5 pitches. He threw his bat across the field against the dugout and called me about every name there was in the book. Minutes later when I took him the ball to sign as my trophy he told me to get out of his face before I got my butt kicked. 2 Weeks later one of is buddies brought me a ball and said that Sir Kruk signed it. As an 18 yr old who just walked on a team and struck out Sir Kruk I did not know how to respond. How he has or keeps his job at ESPN is beyond me. He is a piece of Kruk!!

    • WVcoal

      Nice story, bro.

    • Smokey

      Dude, what is your last name? I don't remember that ever happening when I played that same year. You making this up??

    • Larry

      This sounds like something you may have made up.

  • zero tolerance

    Kruk also played with the Chicago White Sox. He started the game, got a base hit, took himself out of the game, took a shiwer, left the ballpark and promptly retired.

    • WVU86

      More to the story zero. He asked his White Sox teammates before his last game if they had a problem if he pulled himself after his next base hit as he had already decided to retire but wanted his last MLB at-bat to be a hit. The teammates of course said they had no problem with it. As for his demeanor, a few people here have had same negative experience with Kruk. Many years ago, a Gazette sportswriter went to a Pirates-Phillies game to interview him (Phillies) and Don Robinson (pitcher with Pirates) with a 'W.Va. natives in the majors' story angle. Before the game, during allotted time for media to be on field for BP/fielding practice and after the game, Kruk completely dissed the sportswriter, even mocked his W.Va. roots.

    • Lapdog

      I was at that game in Baltimore for his last at bat. Hotter than blazes that day. Also met Kruk at the groundbreaking for the new Keyser High School. He had his California Trophy Wife with him. She was pretty hot too!

      • Polish turkey

        He's never had a wife from California. Some of you people amaze me. You clearly have never met him. He loves this state but just because he doesn't do anything for wvu doesn't mean a damn thing about how he feels for wv.

  • high roller

    Mike, Why would Kruk listen to a high school junior from Williamson about his playing abilities? While I would never defend Van Zant, he didn't even play for WVU till 1980, Kruk graduated from high school in 1979. If you are going to make a statement, particularly if its aimed at someone, get the facts straight first.

  • MIKE

    Van Zant told him he was not good enough to play at WVU, that is the reason he does not attend WVU events.

  • Inwood

    Potomac State College, there is your tie to WVU. Look it up Steve.

  • Steve

    Why would he come to WVU baseball games on any other event? He is from Keyser but has no ties to WVU athletics.

    • Larry

      I don't know why anyone would come to a WVU baseball game, but maybe he's a fan, you can be a fan and not have any ties to the university.

  • Big D in Boca

    would love to see him at a few wvu baseball games or any wvu sporting events for that matter.