Julio Cruz (baseball)
Cruz in 1978
|Born: December 2, 1954|
Brooklyn, New York
|July 4, 1977, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 31, 1986, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||279|
Cruz attended Redlands High School in Southern California, and earned all-league honors as a basketball point guard for Redlands (a teammate of Cruz' on that team was Brian Billick, who eventually coached the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000). Cruz often said that he played basketball only to maintain his fitness, agility and speed for the baseball season.
Although a lifetime .237 hitter with little power, Cruz had excellent speed. Six years in a row with the Seattle Mariners, from 1978 through 1983, he stole over 40 bases each season and was the team's all-time leader in that statistic leading to his nickname "the Cruzer". His record of 290 was surpassed by Ichiro Suzuki, whose two stolen bases in a game against the Padres on May 18, 2008, gave him a total of 292. Cruz was traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 15, 1983, for fellow second baseman Tony Bernazard. After the trade, the White Sox caught fire and finished the season with 99 wins and a divisional pennant. "Juice" Cruz was a key spark plug on that team. However, after 1983, his performance tailed off.
Julio Cruz was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on September 15, 2004, in a pregame on field ceremony at Safeco Field, in Seattle. He is currently a broadcaster for the Mariners.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference