Back in 1990, Steve Aschburner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote about Dean Chance’s 5-inning perfect game and also the first no-hitter in Twins history, thrown by Jack Kralick, a 27-year-old lefthander from Detroit, against the Kansas City Athletics at Met Stadium on August 26, 1962, in a 1-0 win. Aschburner wrote:
“Kralick, one of the players who moved to the Twin Cities with the Washington Senators, had a perfect game until he walked George Alusik with one out in the ninth. But he got Billy Consolo and Bobby Del Greco to foul out to first baseman Vic Power for the final outs.
“He was one of those guys who was going to win you 12 games every year,” Twins public relations director Tom Mee said. “He had good control, and in that particular game, he just had it all together.”
Said his brother Bill Kralick, who lives in St. Paul: “Jack was excited. He knew that anybody who throws a no-hitter (gets a mention) in the Hall of Fame.”
That game did not catapult Kralick into the limelight. His best season in the majors came in 1963. He started out 1-4 with the Twins, was traded to Cleveland for pitcher Jim Perry, then was 13-9 for the Indians.
In nine seasons, Kralick compiled a 67-65 record. His career ended in 1967 shortly after he crashed his car into a bridge abutment.
After baseball, Kralick served as a recreation director for a company working on the Alaskan pipeline. Now 55, he splits his time between Alaska and Mexico. Some have described him as a hermit.”
Will Young did a longer post on Kralick’s no-hitter a couple years ago here.
In Curse of Rocky Colavito, Terry Pluto’s book about cheering on some woeful Indians teams, Pluto talks at length about Kralick. The pitcher was Pluto’s favorite Indian as a kid, and obsessions being what they are, Pluto was driven to search out Kralick years later. He couldn’t find him: the closest he got was a 1971 “Whatever Happened To” article on Kralick in the Akron paper that found Kralick enjoying the outdoors life-hunting and fishing mostly-in South Dakota, and not missing baseball at all. I’ll refer you to Pluto’s book for more about the man, who ex-teammates described as a fairly abrasive loner.
But Kralick, who came within two batters of being probably the least-known pitcher with an MLB perfect game, was (and apparently is) just not sociable, someone who’s very comfortable getting along by himself. Of course at 74, that gets to be pretty hard, especially if you’re living in Alaska. There’s probably a very interesting article or essay to be written about Kralick and the broader issue of the position of the non-social athlete playing in a team sport.
Kralick died on September 19 of 2012, in a fishing village in Mexico called San Blas, at age 77. This post from the Minneapolis Star Tribune includes a few people relating their memories of his no-hitter.