I recently purchased a used copy of John Kruk's autobiography "I Ain't an Athlete, Lady" My Well-Rounded Life and Times, as it had been at least 15 years since I last read it. Written in 1994 with (that generally means "by") Paul Hagen, it's a bit better than your run-of-the-mill book put out at the height of
an athlete's a baseball player's popularity. As a fan of Kruk since kindergarten I enjoyed the whole thing, but my favorite parts were, of course, his tales about his time with the Padres.
One anecdote that stood out to me, which I thought the rest of you would enjoy as well, involved the greatest Padre of all time. Kruk and Tony Gwynn were both drafted by San Diego in 1981, and were major league teammates in the late '80s. Gwynn had a faster track to the big leagues, making his debut the next summer while Kruk had to wait until 1986, but they got to know one another when they were teammates with the Padres' short-season single-A team in Walla Walla, Washington. As Kruk said, the two became unlikely good friends early on. I'll let him take it from here:
We usually ate together, so one day in Medford I asked him if he wanted to get some lunch. He said that he had some things to do and that he would catch me later. A little later I went out to a restaurant, and I was stopped by a policeman. He asked me if I knew Tony Gwynn. I said I did. He said I had to come with him to the jailhouse, that Tony had been arrested. I said, "No, that can't be true. There must be some mistake. Tony is the nicest guy in the world."
We went to get in the cruiser and Tony was in there, laughing. The policeman was a friend of his, and we spent the rest of the day driving around with him. I think we were looking for a guy who had been accused of shooting somebody.
That cracked me up, and then made me smile even more thinking of that famous Tony Gwynn laugh.
While that one is my favorite, there's an abundance of other Padres stories and tidbits in the book, from the time when, as a rookie, Kruk injured Goose Gossage in Tim Stoddard's unique golf tournament, to the 1993 doubleheader between San Diego and Philadelphia that ended after 4am. It's definitely worth shelling out a penny for it and a couple bucks for shipping to check it out.