Former Major League Baseball second baseman Julio Cruz of Brooklyn, New York passed away of prostate cancer on Tuesday according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports. He was 67 years old.
Cruz played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox from 1977 to 1986. In 1156 games, 4438 plate appearances, and 3859 at bats, he batted .237, and 23 home runs and 279 runs batted in, along with 557 runs scored, 916 hits, 113 doubles, 27 triples, 343 stolen bases, 478 walks, 1152 total bases, 56 sacrifice hits, 30 sacrifice flies, an on base percentage of .321 and a slugging percentage of .299.
Cruz was part of the first Mariners team in 1977. They entered Major League Baseball the same season as the Toronto Blue Jays.
Known for his speed, Cruz is second all-time in stolen bases in Mariners’ franchise history with 290. Only Ichiro Suzuki of Nichi Kasugai-gun, Japan had more as he had 438 stolen bases from 2001 to 2012. Cruz also had the second most stolen bases for the Mariners in a single season. He had a career-high 59 stolen bases in 1978. Only Harold Reynolds of Eugene, Oregon had more as he had an American League-leading 60 stolen bases in 1987.
Even though Cruz did not show a lot of power at the plate, he reached the triple digits when it came to hits four times. He had 129 hits for the Mariners in 1978, 112 hits for the Mariners in 1979, a career-high 133 hits with the Mariners in 1982, and 130 hits in 1983, when he split his time with the Mariners and Chicago White Sox. Cruz was traded by the Mariners to the White Sox for fellow second baseman Tony Bernazard of Caguas, Puerto Rico on June 15, 1983.
Cruz was initially signed by the California Angels as a free agent on May 7, 1974. However he never played for the Angels as he was selected by the Mariners as the 52nd pick in the 1976 Major League Baseball Expansion Draft. After being released by the White Sox on March 23, 1987, Cruz signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but never played for Los Angeles either.