Jose Cruz Jr. was born in Arroyo, Puerto Rico and learned to play baseball under the tutelage of his father professional baseball player Jose Cruz. Cruz Jr went on to attend Rice University where he was drafted in the 1st round, 3rd overall of the amateur baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners. Cruz made his major league debut in 1997 with Mariners before being traded in July of that same year to the Toronto Blue Jays for Canadian pitcher Paul Spoljaric and Mike Timlin. Cruz had a promising rookie campaign hitting 26 home runs and 68 rbis and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to Nomar Garciaparra.
Cruz went on to play 6 years for the Toronto Blue Jays amassing 698 games played and achieving notable success.
Cruz hit more than 30 home runs in back to back years with the Jays. The most memorable being the 2001 season where Cruz not only crushed 34 big flies but he also swiped 32 bases making him only the second player in Blue Jays history to achieve such a feat. Continue reading