Former White Sox 2B sailor Julio Cruz dies at 67

Former Mariners and White Sox second baseman Julio Cruz died this week, according to an announcement from the Mariners. Cruz, who followed a 10-year playing career with a long career as a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Mariners, was 67. His family said in a statement that he “passed away peacefully” at home yesterday while “surrounded by family and friends”.

“The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of former Mariners second baseman and current broadcaster Julio Cruz,” the team said in its own statement announcing Cruz’s passing. “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his loved ones, including his wife, Mojgan, his three sons, Austin, Alexander and Jourdan, and their families.”

A member of the Mariners’ inaugural roster in 1977, Cruz hit .256/.336/.296 as a rookie that season before stepping up and solidifying as a regular starter in 1978. While the power n never been his calling card, Cruz stole an average of 50 balls. bases per year from 1978 to 1983, sliding sacks with an outstanding 83.5% success rate along the way. He was the Mariners’ all-time steals leader before being passed by Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, and Cruz still ranks second in franchise history in this regard.

Traded to the White Sox in a 1983 deal that fired fellow second baseman Tony Bernazard to Seattle, Cruz then spent four seasons with the South Siders, for whom he stole another 53 sacks in 72 trials. In total, Cruz recorded 1,156 games in the Majors over a decade-long career and batted .237/.321/.299 with 23 homers, 113 doubles, 27 triples, 343 stolen bases, 557 runs scored. and 279 runs hit. He went 4 for 12 with a pair of steals for the ChiSox in their 1983 ALCS loss to the Orioles — his only playoff experience during that ten-year stretch in the big leagues.

“The ‘Cruzer’ was the catalyst for that 1983 Western Division championship team,” White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement today. “When Roland Hemond acquired him that summer, the team just took off. Julio became our igniter, and his positive energy was contagious at the clubhouse, in the dugout and on the field. Sox fans will always remember him rushing home plate with the division-winning run. The White Sox organization sends its deepest condolences to Julio’s family and many friends.

Cruz’s last professional season came in 1988, but he eventually returned to the Mariners in 2003, joining their Spanish broadcast team – a role he held throughout the 2021 season. He was also proud of his charitable work in Seattle, as the Mariners noted in their statement on his passing:

“Cruz has remained deeply involved in youth baseball and other community causes, including Toys for Kids and breast and prostate cancer awareness. In 2016, he was recognized as the first-ever SEAT 21 winner of the Mariners. SEAT 21 was created by Major League Baseball to recognize members of the community who embody the humanitarian spirit of Roberto Clemente.

We at MLB Trade Rumors offer our condolences to Cruz’s friends, family, loved ones and fans, as well as the Mariners and White Sox organizations as they mourn his loss.

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