10 best MLB All-Star moments

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“Big Unit” just a little wild against John Kruk

This moment is probably the first conscious one I have of an All-Star Game, any sport. Randy Johnson, all 82 inches of him thrusting all his force from what amounts to 55 feet away when he releases the pearl to the plate against poor John Kruk, a lefthanded hitter who had no significant at-bats against Johnson to his career at that point.

If Johnson’s height, velocity and generally intimidating demeanor weren’t enough to freak Kruk to the point of wetting himself, after this pitch which was just a bit high, the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman now had to consider the fact he could get hit by a Johnson 98-MPH fastball any subsequent time he stepped into the box against him.

Of course it was not a regular season game, but knowing Kruk he would have responded in a similar manner if it had been. Kruk was a good hitter. But his MO—the primary reason he was an All-Star starter—was his fun personality.

Perhaps most striking when reviewing the scene in this clip is the fact Johnson hardly reacts. Despite this being an All-Star Game, Johnson continues his deathly glare, almost to incite a belief he actually meant to scare the bejeezus out of Kruk for the sake of intimidation.

The terribly competitive Johnson seemed to be planting a seed of intimidation in Kruk should he ever face him in a more important situation. It would have been for naught—again Kruk’s most admirable trait was his general happy-go-lucky attitude.

Kruk probably would not have enjoyed stepping into the box against the Big Unit, but he’d have done it and probably gave Johnson a big smile.

But at least for this at-bat it worked in Johnson’s favor, as he went on to strike Kruk out.

Next: Even more intimidating than Randy Johnson