“I was 26 years old, by myself with no wife, no girlfriend,” says John Kruk of his decision to share a house with former classmate turned bank robber Roy Plummer. “It was great having people out there I knew. Everyone on my team was married…he never let me pay for anything. He always had cash.” Even in the 1980’s, would you picked the Krukster as a candidate for Kept Man? From the Charleston Gazette‘s Gary Harai (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Soon Kruk (above) was hearing stories from about Plummer skipping town, owing people money, and robbing a local grocery store.
“I said, ‘Man I’m out here almost every day. I don’t see it.’ There were rumors of them selling drugs out of the house, having wild parties,” Kruk said. “I didn’t see it. The house was immaculate. You’d think if a drug addict lived there, there would be evidence.”
By November, Kruk decided to play winter ball in Mexico and moved out.
“We were going out a lot, drinking, having a good time,” Kruk said. “And I thought, ‘You know what? I’ve got to do something. I have yet to prepare for the following season.'”
In February 1988 he went to spring training.
“I kept hearing more from spring training. When I got back for the season, I don’t know what excuse I made to him, but I said I needed to find my own place,” Kruk said. “Then, of course, the FBI comes in right before batting practice and it’s ‘Holy crap.'”
The FBI questioned Kruk and showed him a picture of Plummer robbing a bank wearing a hat that read, “American by Birth. West Virginian by the Grace of God.”
The FBI told Kruk that Plummer believed he was the one that turned him in.
“What I’m hearing from the FBI and other people is that he’s a drug-possessed, gun-toting psychopath now. Everyone is telling me, ‘He’s coming after you,'” Kruk said. “Every knock on the door could be a teammate or it could be him. It scared the shit out of you.”
Kruk admits the stress affected his play during the 1988 baseball season.
“Oh-for-four meant absolutely nothing to me at that time,” Kruk said. “The only thing I wanted was to get the season over with.”