I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned
Mike Krukow Interview: Winning Strategies for Life!
Diana Landau | November 09, 2020
The one-and-only Mike Krukow was a guest on the podcast this week. Carl is a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan and interviewing one of his personal heroes was a major thrill! Mike was not only a star pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and then the SF Giants, but after his playing days were over, he eventually found his way to broadcasting, becoming one half of one of the most famous sports broadcasting duos in the country.
Growing up in San Gabriel, California, Mike always wanted to be a baseball player. As a kid he was surrounded by baseball, becoming a batboy and playing in baseball games every single day, up and down his neighborhood street. “Kids talked about becoming blue collar or white collar workers when they grew up—I knew I wanted to be a ”no-collar” worker!” he laughed.
Carl asked Mike where he gets his positive energy. (You can even hear it through his broadcasts, one of the many reasons he’s so loved in SF.) Mike said his mother was a nurse who never had a bad day. “She had the ability to pump people up, to be open and always engaged in the conversation. Our house was always the house where all the kids in the neighborhood hung out. It’s about being either half-full or half-empty—it’s your choice how you want to look at things.”
Mike last played baseball in 1989. That year the SF Giants competed in the World Series with a motley crew of players that weren’t even predicted to make the playoffs. Carl noted that podcast guest Joan Ryan has a new book “Intangibles, Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry” that was partly inspired by that team in 1989. “We loved each other. We all bought into the concept of giving all that we had for each other every day,” Mike agreed.
Mike had 3 surgeries on his shoulder and his pitching arm was shredded. So after that winning season, Manager Roger Craig offered Mike a position as a pitching coach. Traveling with the team, coaches often worked 12-hour days. Mike turned it down. He had 4 kids and his wife was pregnant with the fifth. At each point in his life when he pivoted to something new, Mike made family the priority. Instead of more baseball, he and a college friend opened a restaurant. “Perfect timing—the recession!” Mike joked.
He decided he had to learn about everything, from being a busboy, waiting tables, hosting, prep-cook, finance and more. Mike said it was an invigorating time—failure was on the doorstep every day. “I have an incredible amount of respect for the business owners who are willing to risk everything to run their business and create jobs for other people.”
Mike became a full time broadcaster in 1994. He’s known for his deep knowledge of the game and his tremendous humor, and is a 7-time Emmy Award winner. In 2014, Mike was diagnosed with IBM (inclusion body myositis) and although he does not travel with the team anymore, you can count on Mike and his partner Duane Kuiper broadcasting from the Oracle Park studios during the baseball season.
Mike’s advice will resonate with I Used to be Somebody listeners:
“Don’t EVER retire! What’s so wonderful about life is that there are so many new surprises; you just have to look for them. Go out and do something that is creative and fun. Go someplace where you can do it with other people. Don’t just be content with sitting on the couch. That’s where it all ends. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that there are so many new, wonderful things to explore.”
It’s pretty evident that nothing is going to slow down Mike Krukow. He is living his moment!
For more info about Mike Krukow and how to donate to the Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation, visit this website.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.