Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1976 Topps #321 Jose Cruz

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, April 2, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1976 Topps #321.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jose Cruz, outfielder, Houston Astros.
  • Major League Debut: September 19, 1970.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1975 stats (Astros): 120 G, 315 AB, 44 R, 81 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 49 RBI, .257 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Cardinals as a Free Agent 10/27/1966. Contract purchased by the Astros 10/24/1974. Bats: left. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 17. This is his fifth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: The Topps Card Randomizer picked Jose Cruz, Jr. a couple of months ago. Today, it's dad's turn to be featured. I know that the Astros' uniforms in the 70's and 80's had some wild colors, but was pink one of them? Maybe it's the era of design, but I would have preferred it if Topps incorporated the team colors for the design than random colors. Just my opinion, of course, I'm no expert. Jose Cruz played for the Astros for thirteen full seasons. It is the team he is mostly connected to, long after his playing days ended (and after one really quiet season with the Yankees). Starting in 1976, Jose Cruz would reach triple digits in hits for the first time in his career, beginning a streak of 11 straight years reaching the century mark in hits (he would lead the NL in Hits in 1983 with 189). He would go on to hit .303 with 4 home runs, and 61 rbi's. He would also go on and steal 28 bases and draw 53 walks, contributing to an OBP of .377 and an OPS of .777. Defensively, Cruz would play all three positions equally well, only committing 8 errors in 283 chances (.972 fielding percentage). During his stay in Houston, Cruz would become a two-time All-Star (in 1980 and 1985), a two-time Silver Slugger (in 1983 and 1984), and MVP candidate (reaching as high as 3rd in the running in 1980). Until Craig Biggio passed him in 2001, Cruz also had played in more games in an Astros uniform than any other player (1870 appearances). In his time with Houston, Cruz would hit 138 home runs, drive in 942 rbi's, steal 288 bases, and hit for a .292 average (.789 OPS). After his one season with the Yankees, Cruz called it a career, giving him time to focus on his family and see his son, Jose Cruz, Jr, live his dream of playing in the majors as well. In 1992, the Astros organization retired his uniform number #25, and in 1999, he was one of three outfielders selected onto the All-Astrodome team (to celebrate the team's run before moving to Enron Field-Minute Maid Park).After managing in both the independent Texas-Louisiana League and the Puerto Rican Winter League, he joined the Astros as a first base coach. He is now a special assistant to the GM with the Astros. Although Jose Cruz was slighted by the BBWAA for induction into Cooperstown (two votes to earn .4% of the total count), he is a Hall of Famer. He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.60-$1.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 19.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2012 Topps #657. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 2012 here on the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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