John Kruk’s Exact Words

Does anyone know the exact origin and phrasing of this infamous John Kruk statement?

“I ain’t an athlete, lady. I’m a (professional) baseball player.”

I know he said this in some form, and the first sentence is the title of his autobiography. But the quote is different every place I look. If you have the book and can find the true statement, please let me know.

4 Responses “John Kruk’s Exact Words”

  1. J.S. Choe says:

    The title of his book comes from a time when a woman chided him for smoking and being overweight and being a poor example of a professional athlete. Kruk’s response: “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a ballplayer!” (Source:

    I read this book years ago. I don’t have it anymore though. I tried searching,,, and finally wikipedia. The above quote is from Wikipedia. I’ve had success w/ Wikipedia, though I don’t trust info from Wikipedia 100%. There’s a copy in the Boston Public Library that I could borrow if you really, really want confirmation of the exact wording. Just say the word and I’ll check it out of the library for you. Email me at

  2. Matt says:

    I don’t have the book, but if I remember correctly, Kruk said that after a woman saw him smoking before/after a spring training game and expressed her dismay by telling him “athletes don’t smoke.”

    I’m sure those with the book have even more detail.

  3. kevin says:

    Exact words? – playing that game. It didn’t end well for Greg Brady and I’m not sure it will do you any good either.

  4. John Salmon says:

    The lady was right, of course. When Kruk came up he was a good outfielder with some speed, decent power and a high OBP; next he was a good first baseman with not much speed and that high OBP; then a lousy first baseman with OBP; then a DH with OBP but no power. He was a career .300 hitter with a .397 OBP, but he was out of the game at 34 because he didn’t take care of himself.