There will always be a special place in my heart of Jose Cruz Jr.
Back in 1997 baseball was fully recovered from the strike, and so baseball cards were also getting a healthy bump in popularity. Topps had, by this time, transitioned Bowman into “home of the rookie card”, so people were going nuts for singles since everyone wanted the next big rookie card. Jose Cruz and Travis Lee were, for a while, those cards.
Cruz was a 1st Round Pick, and was also seen as the the next Griffey–they played on the same 1997 Mariners teams. That is a recipe for popularity, and collectors were going nuts. I paid $20 for my ’97 Bowman Cruz, which I still have.
Cruz never really had the career that people that that he would…but that is not to say it was a bad one.
He would spend 12 years in the majors, going .247/.337/.445 with 204 HR. He never was an All-Star, though did win a Gold Glove in 2003. His best season was 2001, when he went .274/.326/.530 with 34 HR and 32 stolen bases. Very impressive. He would crack 30 HR twice (2000, 2001), and have nine seasons of at least 10.
|162 Game Avg.||162||551||24||73||13||5||77||134||.247||.337||.445||.783||102|