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This business is nothing new for Yordano Ventura

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As best as can be told, Yordano Ventura threw at Manny Machado last night because Machado jawed at him a bit earlier in the game following some inside pitches. As far as provocation goes, that’s pretty light. As far as provocation of Yordano Ventura goes, however, it may as well have been a declaration of war. Ventura, you see, has a hilariously short fuse, historically speaking. The dude is, as the baseball men like to say, a first-class red ass.

Early last year Ventura got into it with Mike Trout, staring him down and later trying to get up in his face after Trout scored a run. According to Ventura’s view of the universe Trout totally had it coming, though, as he had the audacity to hit a single up the middle a few minutes earlier:

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In Ventura’s very next start he hit Brett Lawrie. This one was a retaliation deal after Lawrie had slid hard into second in the previous day’s game. Fine, follow the unwritten rules and plunk a dude. It’s your duty, I guess. Except Ventura did it with a 99 m.p.h. heater, just as he did Machado last night and then decided that walking over to Lawrie and barking at him so much that Sal Perez had to intervene and hold Ventura back was the way to handle himself. Note: Lawrie took his plunking and was merely walking to first base:

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Later that same month Venutra got into it with Adam Eaton of the White Sox, who had just hit a comebacker to Ventura, who retired him at first base. Ventura was again jawing — maybe he really takes it personally when someone hits the ball in his direction — and the benches again cleared:

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Over at Yahoo today, Jeff Passan has a story about the combustible Ventura. Your mileage may vary on the politics of hitting guys, but Ventura’s teammates, manager and front office are all growing tired of his petulant and aggressive little act. It’d be one thing if he were living up to his potential. At the moment, however, he has a 5.32 ERA. His 2015 was a big step down from 2014 as well.

Throw a no-hitter on L.S.D. like Dock Ellis or dominate your opposition like Pedro Martinez and people will give you more leeway to start doing the do like those guys did. Do that stuff while you’re underachieving on a team in the middle of a six-game losing streak and you’re just a pain in the butt.

This Day in Transaction History: Phillies acquire John Kruk from Padres

John Kruk
Bernstein Associates/Getty Images
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John Kruk is one of the more underrated hitters in baseball history. Kruk, who is currently a broadcaster for the Phillies, had a 10-year career during which he hit exactly 100 homers, batted exactly .300, and posted an excellent .397 on-base percentage. In baseball history, there are only 32 members of the admittedly arbitrary 100/.300/.395+ club. Kruk is one of only 10 members of the club that played after 1963. The others: Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramírez, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, and Wade Boggs. Of them, five are Hall of Famers. Trout and Votto will be, and Helton and Ramírez should be.

On this day in 1989, the Phillies made a franchise-altering trade, acquiring Kruk along with infielder Randy Ready from the Padres in exchange for outfielder Chris James. The Padres had just swept the Phillies at home and were hoping to jump into the playoff race. They immediately went into a losing skid, but caught fire at the end of the season, finishing 89-73. However, that wasn’t good enough as the Giants won the NL West with a 92-70 record. James was solid for the Padres, posting a .743 OPS with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 87 games.

Kruk had an interesting but brief major league career with the Padres. His roommate, Roy Plummer, was an armed robber. Kruk was completely unaware of this. In spring training of 1988, the FBI informed Kruk of his roommates’ activities. Kruk feared retribution from Plummer and said that the anxiety affected his baseball performance. In 1988, Kruk batted what was for him a poor .241/.369/.362 with nine homers and 44 RBI over 466 plate appearances.

The Phillies didn’t enjoy immediate success upon Kruk’s arrival in 1989. The club finished the season with a losing record and would do the same in the ensuing three seasons. None of it was Kruk’s fault, though: in aggregate, from 1990-92, he hit .303/.393/.459, earning two All-Star nominations. In this span of time, the only other first basemen to hit above .300 were Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Hal Morris, and Rafael Palmeiro. The Padres had used Kruk both in the corner outfield and at first base, but the Phillies made him a full-time first baseman, which turned out to be a good move.

In 1993, everything came together for the Phillies and Kruk had what was arguably the greatest season of his career. He hit .316, which was actually seven points below his average the previous year, but he drew 111 walks to push his on-base percentage up to .430. Kruk hit third in the lineup, creating plenty of RBI opportunities for Dave Hollins in the clean-up spot, Darren Daulton at No. 5, and the trio of Jim Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia, and Wes Chamberlain in the No. 6 spot. The Phillies shocked the world in ’93, winning the NL East by three games over the Expos with a 97-65 record. They then dispatched the Braves in six games in the NLCS to advance to the World Series against the Blue Jays.

Kruk was productive in the NLCS, contributing six hits including a pair of doubles, a triple, a home run, four walks, five RBI, and four runs scored. But he turned things up a notch in the World Series, registering multi-hit performances in the first three games. He would finish the World Series with eight hits in 23 at-bats along with seven walks, four RBI, and four runs scored. The World Series was winnable for the Phillies as they lost a barnburner Game 4 15-14, and of course, dropped the deciding Game 6 on a World Series-clinching walk-off three-run home run by Joe Carter off of Mitch Williams.

1994 was tough on Kruk in many ways. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in spring training. Knee issues continued to bother him, and then Major League Baseball had a work stoppage. In an abbreviated season, Kruk hit a still-productive .823 OPS. He became a free agent and, when baseball came back, he signed with the White Sox. In the first inning of a July 30 game against the Orioles in ’95, Kruk singled to left field off of Scott Erickson. He reached first base, bowed to the fans, and walked off the field into retirement. Kruk told the media, “The desire to compete at this level is gone. When that happens, it’s time to go.”

Kruk has spent his post-playing days working in sports media as both a broadcaster (Phillies, ESPN nationally) and as a commentator (The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Baseball Tonight). The Phillies inducted him into their Wall of Fame in August 2011. One wonders if Kruk hadn’t been bit by the injury bug, and if there hadn’t been a work stoppage, if he might have been able to accrue some more numbers to have a borderline Hall of Fame case. Regardless, he’ll go down as one of the games’ quietly great hitters.