SABR Bio Project
Born: Aug 8, 1947
Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for cash after the 1974 season, Puerto Rican José Cruz quickly established himself as a reliable, everyday outfielder. Although not a power hitter, Cruz's speed and ability to hit for average made him a perennial fan favorite. The Astrodome would fill with cries of "Cruuuuuuuuz" whenever he came to bat or made a play in the field. Cruz was named the team's Most Valuable Player four times, in 1977, 1980, 1983 and 1984.
Cruz played 13 seasons for the Astros, eventually leaving after the 1987 season as the club's All-Time leader in games played, hits, RBI and triples. Cruz was in the top three all-time in eight other offensive categories. His jersey was retired on October 3, 1992, making him one of the first six Astros so honored. In 1997, he returned to Houston as the team's first-base coach where he coached through the 2009 season.
Through 2009, Cruz has been part of all nine Astros postseason appearances to date: three as a player (1980, '81, and '86) and six as a coach (1997-99, 2001, 2004-05).