Classic card of the week
Jose Cruz, 1986 Fleer
Reporter: So, Jose. Great game today. I’ll try to keep this short since I know your wife’s waiting for you over there. By the way, is that your brother or something that she’s with? They seem to get along well. But back to the game…
This is Jose Cruz, and he is going to rip your heart out of your chest the second this interview is over. You might want to get a head start. This is, of course, a “league leaders” card, and in 1985, Jose Cruz led the league is statements that began, “If looks could kill…” Actually, in looking at his stats for the previous season, it’s hard to figure what, exactly, Jose Cruz led the league in. A .300 batting average, 69 runs scored, nine home runs, 79 RBI…I’m at a loss. My guess is that once Jose Cruz found out that a league leaders set was coming out, this ensued:
Jose Cruz: I understand that a league leaders set is coming out. This is good news, since I led the league in batting average last season.
Fleer executive: Yeah, we – huh? Jose, you batted .300 last year. Willie McGee hit .353. What are you talking about?
Cruz: I don’t think you heard me, essay. I led the league last season!
Fleer executive: Oh, uh, yeah, yeah! Now that I think about it, you DID lead the league last year. Hold that pose Jose, cause I got my camera right here…
Besides winning every staring contest he participated in since he was 5-years-old (with several being to the death), Jose Cruz was also a latter-day Julio Franco. Born in 1893 in Home Arroyo, PR, Cruz spent 60-plus years in the big leagues, almost all with the Houston Astros. In fact, Cruz played for Houston before the team even existed. Originally called the Colt .45s, the team changed its name to the Astros in 1965. When the new team finally arrived for Spring Training that year, Jose Cruz was already waiting for them, taking batting practice while decked out in a multi-colored Astros uniform he had knitted for himself 12 years earlier. He said, “What took you guys so long?” Then everybody laughed. Except Jose, who was pissed, because he wasn’t joking.
Did you know?
Jose Cruz killed a man in Reno, just to watch him die.