‘Cruz’ through history
By Craig Muder
They stood together in the Museum’s archive, father and son of Major League Baseball fame.
Jose Cruz Sr. and Jose Cruz Jr. have 31 big league seasons between them. But nothing prepared them for their visit to Cooperstown.
“This is unbelievable,” said Jose Cruz Jr., in town this week with his children – Jose Sr.’s grandchildren – for a youth baseball tournament. “The history is here… guys that I played with, Hall of Famers… . I’m still here and I can’t wait to come back!”
The pair and their families visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday. Jose Cruz Sr., a 19-year big league veteran best known for his 13 years with the Astros, looks remarkably the same as the smooth left-handed swinger who knocked line drives around the National League during the 1980s. Now 63, Cruz paid special attention to two exhibits: One featuring new Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who like Cruz was born in Puerto Rico.
The other exhibit? One featuring Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who was an executive with the St. Louis Cardinals when Cruz signed with the team as an amateur free agent in 1966.
“Stan the Man was my hero,” said Cruz, now a special assistant to the general manager for the Astros.
Jose Cruz Jr., 37, is only three years removed from a 12-year big league career that saw him hit 204 homers and capture a Gold Glove Award for his outfield play in 2003. A student of baseball history, Cruz Jr. tested his father on baseball trivia throughout his visit.
Father and son, bonding through baseball. Seems fitting during a week that will feature the annual Hall of Fame Classic on Father’s Day – Sunday, June 19 – in Cooperstown.
The connection – even at the game’s highest level – remains unbreakable.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.