Nelson Cruz spent several of his most successful years playing for the Mariners. I am grateful that the boy who grew up loving basketball ended up becoming an MLB player. The home run slugger has put aside his bat and glove. He is retiring from MLB at the age of 43.
Cruz's Cruise Through MLB
Born in Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, Nelson Cruz was initially signed by the Mets. During his 19-year career, he played in the big leagues for several teams after debuting with the Brewers in 2005. He spent eight years with the Rangers, (2006-2013), one year with the Orioles (2014), four years with the Mariners (2015-2018), three with the Twins (2019-2021), and finished up with the Rays, the Nationals, and the Padres.
Some fail to see beyond Cruz's 50-game suspension in 2013, but that is unfortunate since they then cannot appreciate his amazing achievements on and off the field.
Nelson Cruz's Years with the Mariners: A Fan Favorite (2015 - 2018)
Cruz had four terrific years with the Mariners, playing with other Mariner greats Robinson Canó, Kyle Seager, Fếlix Hernández, James Paxton, Jean Segura, and overlapping with Mitch Haniger, Marco Gonzales, as well as Skipper Servais. Over his four years in Seattle, he hit 163 home runs, batted in 414 runs, and had a batting average of .284. His nickname, “Boomstick” is appropriate!
Awards Earned by Cruz
- He was a seven-time All-Star.
- He was the 2011 ALCS MVP.
- Cruz had the most home runs in the AL in 2014,
- He had the AK's third highest offensive WAR (6.0) in 2015.
- In 2017, he led the AL in runs batted in.
- He received the Edgar Martinez Award in 2017 and 2019.
- He received three AL Silver Slugger awards for outfield and one for designated hitter.
- He was on the first All-MLB team in 2019.
- Then was on the second All-MLB team in 2020.
- He received the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award.
Cruz the Philanthropist
Cruz worked hard off and on the field. In 2021, he won the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. “The Roberto Clemente Award is given every year to the player who 'best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field.'” This is a quick overview of his generosity.
- He provides dentists and optometrists to the residents of Las Matas annually.
- He did charitable work in the communities of the teams for which the played.
- He provided equipment for an ambulance corp and firefighting in the DR. He also funded a police station and a medical clinic.
- He made sure that 1200 families were fed and taken care of in the DR during the pandemic.
- He is/was building a computer center in his community.
And now . . .
Cruz has not put his bat down completely and was interested in playing in the Dominican Republic this winter. He played for his country in several World Baseball Classics and also managed this past Spring. We may see him again.
Thank you, Nelson Cruz, for your many contributions to the Mariners, to Major League Baseball, and to people in need.