Victor Cruz (THE TOPPS COMPANY)

Victor Cruz

This article was written by Malcolm Allen

Victor Cruz (THE TOPPS COMPANY)A roly-poly right-hander with a corkscrew motion, Víctor Cruz pitched parts of five seasons for the Blue Jays, Indians, Pirates and Rangers between 1978 and 1983. In his native Dominican Republic, Cruz was known as “El Policía” (The Policeman) for his ability to impose order on opposing hitters. The side-arming reliever saved 37 games in the majors.

Víctor Manuel Cruz Gil was born on December 24, 1957, in Rancho Viejo, about 100 miles northwest of Santo Domingo in the La Vega province. His parents, José Manuel González and Indiana Gil, had 10 children: nine boys and one girl.1 They lived on a ranch with 27 horses that Víctor loved to ride.2 He described his father as a wealthy man. “Lots of money. Lots of racehorses. Lots of cars.”3

On his father’s farm, Víctor drove a tractor and cultivated crops like rice, tobacco and bananas.4 His early baseball experience came in local tournaments with the Ranchito Viejo club. He also played for neighborhood teams in La Vega like Jima and Jumunucú.5 In ninth grade, Cruz left school to join the National Police team, a military institution described by one newspaper as a “training program consisting solely of playing baseball seven days a week.”6 “I was a third baseman until I was 14 or 15. Ay, could I hit!” Cruz recalled. “But one day we were playing in Santo Domingo and the manager, he didn’t have anybody left to pitch. So, he gave me the ball and said, ‘Here, just throw as hard as you can.’ I struck out the side and never went back to third base.”7 The police team dominated national amateur competition during the early 1970s and Cruz gained the nickname “El Policía.”8

When the Central American and Caribbean games came to the Dominican Republic in 1974, manager Rafael Luis López added Cruz to the host country’s national team. A year later, Cruz won two of three decisions for his nation at the Pan Am Games in Mexico City, and struck out a record 18 batters in the national amateur championship game at Estadio Olímpico in La Vega.9

Cruz so impressed Pittsburgh Pirates scouts Howie Haak and Pete Peterson at a workout in early 1976 that they told him they would return with a contract the following day. That proved to be too late, however. Another birddog, Bobby Díaz, had been watching from the stands and signed Cruz for the St. Louis Cardinals on January 9.10 The Johnson City (TN) Cardinals won the Rookie-level Appalachian League championship in 1976. In a dozen appearances (11 starts), Cruz went 6-3 with a 2.03 ERA and a league-leading three shutouts. In 80 innings, he struck out 100 and walked 23 — the best strikeout rate per-nine-innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio of any pitcher who worked more than 33 frames. Next, Cruz pitched for another championship club in winter ball, the Tigres del Licey. His 35 appearances tied the Dominican League record and his 12 saves matched José Sosa for the circuit lead.11 Cruz was named Rookie of the Year and pitched five more times in the seven-game finals.

Cruz started and finished the 1977 season with the Arkansas Travelers in the Double-A Texas League, where he struggled to a 3-8 record and 4.99 ERA in 18 outings (13 starts). “I always threw sidearm, like Luis Tiant, but the Cardinals wanted me to pitch overhand,” he said.12 He spent most his six-week demotion to the Single-A Florida State League in the bullpen and allowed only 14 hits in 30 innings for the St. Petersburg Cardinals. After manager Hub Kittle tweaked his windup to resemble that of retired Dominican star Juan Marichal prior to a start, Cruz struck out 15 Pompano Beach Cubs. “I felt Cruz needed to get a kick and turn in his windup like Marichal did,” Kittle explained.13

In winter ball with Licey, Cruz posted a 1.96 ERA in 46 innings. On December 6, the Cardinals traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays with southpaw Tom Underwood for righty Pete Vuckovich. Ten days later, St. Louis also received outfielder John Scott to complete the deal. “We had scouted Cruz in three leagues,” remarked Toronto GM Pat Gillick. “We felt he was a player for our future.”14 Gillick’s counterpart, Cardinals’ GM Bing Devine, said it had been difficult to convince his club’s brass to part with Cruz to land the Blue Jays’ top reliever of 1977.15

In spring training with the second-year Blue Jays, pitching coach Bob Miller observed, “Víctor Cruz has a bad tendency to drop his elbow and start slinging the ball. When he does that, his control’s a little bit off…He still has a lot of improvement to make.”16 Before Cruz was farmed out to start the season, Gillick asked him why he’d abandoned his old Tiant-style corkscrew windup, in which he turned his back to the hitter before delivering a pitch. He replied that the Cardinals had encouraged him to employ a more traditional delivery. “I went back to my old way,” Cruz explained. “When I pitch like Tiant, I add about five miles an hour to my fastball. When I turned only part way, my fastball rises, and I have trouble keeping it in the strike zone.”17

Cruz began the 1978 season in the Triple-A International League. Though he struck out 56 and allowed only 31 hits in 42 innings with the Syracuse Chiefs, he walked 35 and had a 4.50 ERA. “[Cruz] didn’t do much until it got warmer,” recalled Chuck Hartenstein, Toronto’s minor league pitching instructor.18 By the first week of summer, Syracuse skipper Vern Benson called Gillick and said, “I’ve got a pitcher who can help you. He can throw hard, he can throw strikes, and he’s all hyped up.”19 When an arm injury forced Toronto’s Don Kirkwood to the disabled list, Cruz was promoted to the majors to replace him. Rico Carty, the Blue Jays’ 38-year-old Dominican designated hitter, helped the rookie get acclimated to the majors. “Rico was like a big brother to me. Like a father,” Cruz said. “He was my best friend.”20

In his debut on June 24, Cruz retired all five Indians that he faced at Cleveland Stadium, striking out Andre Thornton and Johnny Grubb. He notched his first save the following day, punching out the last two hitters. Two nights later, in a doubleheader sweep of the Orioles in Toronto, Cruz earned a save and a win. By July 29, he hadn’t allowed a run in 21 ⅔ innings –two outs shy of Boo Ferriss’s 1945 American League record to begin a career.21 “Cruz has shown me the best fastball I’ve seen on the team all year. He can come in and get that strikeout when you need it,” said Miller.22

“Whatever they want, I do. Anything so I don’t go back to Syracuse,” Cruz said.23 On July 31, the rookie surrendered two runs to the Tigers to fall short of the record. Over the weekend of August 11-13 against the Royals, he blew his first save and suffered his first loss. By the end of August, however, the Blue Jays had enjoyed the first winning month in franchise history and Cruz was 6-1 with a 0.91 ERA and nine saves. Toronto manager Roy Hartsfield told him to buy an English dictionary because, Cruz explained, “He say, ‘You throw ball like that, you here long time’.”24 Cruz insisted that the way he’d resumed turning his back to the hitter was the key to his success, even if Miller wasn’t convinced. “I think it’s all in his head,” the pitching coach opined. “But he believes that he pitches better that way and it works, so that’s all that counts.”25

Though Baseball Reference lists the 5-foot-9 Cruz’s playing weight as 174 pounds, Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported that he weighed 194 that summer, down from 210 the previous year.26 Decades before such things became common in big league clubhouses, Cruz garnered attention for his pair of tattoos: his mother’s name on his right leg, and — on his non-pitching arm — the phrase ‘Si ni mo quiere, porqué me cales’ (roughly, ‘If you don’t like me, leave me alone’).27

After Cruz blew a save against the Angels on September 1, Ron Jackson, who stroked the tying hit, told reporters that he’d noticed something when watching the rookie’s previous appearance on television. “On all the right-handed hitters, he was following a set pattern, alternating inside and outside pitches,” Jackson described.28 The defeat began a 4-22 freefall for the Blue Jays, who wound up with 102 losses. Cruz finished his rookie season 7-3 with a 1.71 ERA in 32 appearances. In 47 ⅓ innings, he struck out 51 and allowed only 28 hits, but walked 35. In balloting for Toronto’s top rookie in November, Cruz edged center fielder Rick Bosetti.29 In voting for the team’s top pitcher, he tied 10-game-winner Jim Clancy.30

The Globe and Mail’s Neil Campbell wrote, “[Cruz] had a habit of walking enough batters to fill whatever bases were available when he took over, then rediscovering his control just in time to pitch himself out of the difficulty he had created for himself.”31 Miller said, “Víctor threw so damn hard that he could fall behind and still come back and strike out the hitter.”32 Before the season ended, the pitching coach had Cruz working on a palm ball to complement his hard fastball-slider repertoire.33 The right-hander was supposed to attend the Florida Instructional League that fall to work on a changeup.34 Instead, Miller said, “He never did show up.”35

Nevertheless, the Blue Jays had no intention of trading Cruz at the winter meetings, where seven teams reportedly tried to acquire him.36 That changed on December 5 when the Cleveland Indians offered their 1978 first-round draft pick, Phil Lansford, plus 21-year-old shortstop Alfredo Griffin. “A month ago, we regarded Cruz and Clancy as untouchable, but we got Cruz in a trade last year from St. Louis,” Gillick explained. “That deal is now Pete Vuckovich for Tom Underwood, and Griffin and Lansford, and we think we’re way ahead.”37 Cleveland GM Phil Seghi said, “We traded youth and obtained youth. When you can get a young power pitcher like Cruz, you have to feel very fortunate.”38

Although Cruz was believed to be turning 21 a few weeks after the deal was consummated, not everyone believed it. One Globe and Mail source insisted that the pitcher was already 25, though the same article noted, “Gillick says…there was nothing to substantiate this.”39 In the summer of ’79, the same newspaper reported that a Blue Jays official said Cruz was 28.40

Whatever the truth was, Cruz’s poor Dominican League performance for Licey — a 5.35 ERA in 16 appearances — did not discourage Indians’ manager Jeff Torborg’s belief that his team had upgraded its late-inning relief despite dealing away save leader Jim Kern. “We’re 20 percent better with Cruz. Cruz can go three innings one day, and pitch again the next,” Torborg said. “When you stretched Kern out, he didn’t have his fastball for three days.”41

Cruz was late to spring training, not unusual for Dominican players, who had to secure an exit visa to leave their home country. In the first week of March, however, Gillick told the Globe and Mail about a conversation he’d had with an Indians’ official. “They said they had talked to the Dominican visa office, and the man said that Víctor’s visa had been sitting there on his desk all week. Víctor just hadn’t bothered to come and pick it up yet.”42 “If we had that trade to make over again, we probably wouldn’t do it,” remarked Cleveland scout Leon Hamilton during the exhibition season. “It’s his attitude. Sometimes it seems like he doesn’t really care.”43

“I still can’t believe Toronto traded me,” Cruz confessed after arriving two weeks late.44 He insisted, “I’m glad to be here. It’s too cold in Toronto. I know it’s cold in Cleveland early in the season, but it’s cold in Toronto all year.”45 One of Cruz’s most impressive feats as a rookie had been not allowing a single home run in his 47 ⅓ innings. On Opening Day 1979 at Fenway Park, however, Boston’s Fred Lynn took him deep, the first of four homers Cruz allowed in his first eight appearances. “Víctor always has been a slow starter,” said Hartenstein, Cleveland’s pitching coach that season. “He talks to me when he has something on his mind, There’s nothing shy about him. I know he was upset about being traded again but I think he’s adjusted to it.”46

In the Indians’ first 44 games, Cruz appeared 11 times and worked only once on consecutive days. “I feel like I’m wasting my time with this team,” he complained.47 “I never get tired. I just get tired when I sit and sit… I can’t throw real hard unless I throw often.”48 Beginning May 28, Cruz pitched in six straight games, and 31 of the Indians’ next 59. “He seems sharper the fourth or fifth day he works in a row,” Torborg observed.49

On July 22, however, Torborg was fired with Cleveland’s record nine games under .500. Cruz had difficulties with replacement Dave Garcia. The Indians won their first 10 games under their new skipper, but Cruz and utility man Ron Pruitt were reportedly fined $500 apiece after a shoving incident on the flight to Chicago during the hot stretch.50 Cruz’s 10 saves through the end of August ranked second on the club to southpaw Sid Monge. But he allowed a career-worst three homers to blow a save against the Angels on August 31 and pitched only once more the rest of the season unless Cleveland was losing or ahead by a double-digit score. “Every time I go out there, all I hear are boos,” Cruz told a Globe and Mail reporter during the Indians’ September visit to Toronto. “I’d like to come back to Toronto.”51

Near the end of a season in which Cruz finished 3-9 with a 4.23 ERA in 61 appearances, Garcia described mental lapses when the reliever had failed to back up plays or given away extra bases with ill-advised throws. “He looked a little confused,” sighed the skipper. “Víctor finds it difficult to do all the things demanded of a pitcher out there. He’s got a great arm but…he’s going to have to get another pitch, probably a changeup.”52 Garcia also ordered Cruz to lose weight.53

Cruz enjoyed an outstanding Dominican League campaign, allowing only one earned run and 15 hits in 30 ⅓ regular-season innings. Licey needed only six games in the best-of-nine finals to claim another championship and Cruz appeared in five of them, pitching scoreless ball and nailing down the last out.54 New Indians’ pitching coach Dave Duncan visited him in February and confirmed that the pitcher’s weight was down to the 196 pounds the club desired. By the time the Indians weighed Cruz after his late arrival to spring training, however, he’d ballooned up to 214. “No matter how hard we work him, we can’t assign a guy to watch him when he eats,” remarked Garcia.55

“All I ever heard was ‘Lose weight. Lose weight’,” Cruz recalled. “They were making my head crazy, messing up my concentration.”56 After shedding 18 pounds in camp, Cruz surrendered a three-run homer on Opening Day and was battered for an 11.12 ERA in April.57 “I like to pitch around 205. I got down to 190, but I only threw my fastball 80-85 miles an hour,” he explained. “I went back to 200, and it went up to 93-94.”

By the All-Star break, Cruz had a 4.46 ERA and only two saves, but his effectiveness returned in the midsummer heat. On July 20 in Oakland, he struck out a career-high nine in a five-inning relief stint, although he lost in the bottom of the 14th after allowing his only hit. In August, Cruz saved seven of Cleveland’s 18 victories, including three consecutive games at the end of the month to briefly lift the team into fourth place.

He wore out his welcome in Cleveland before the end of the season, though. On September 23 in New York, Cruz said he couldn’t pitch, and the Indians blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead to extend their losing streak to six. Garcia boiled over “Yesterday Víctor told me he had a bad back…Today it’s a sore throat. That’s a lot of bull. If you’ve got any [guts] you go out there and pitch. My dad always told me you’ve gotta have some. Where are his?”58 Cruz finished with 12 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 55 appearances, but Indians President Gabe Paul questioned his motivation in The Sporting News and said he didn’t appreciate the way the pitcher waved his cap at booing Cleveland fans. “Víctor Cruz has a great arm, but he has a head like an eggbeater,” Paul said.59

“I heard that, and I didn’t like it,” said Cruz, who also disputed more reports of excess weight. “I was never 235,” he insisted. “Maybe 208 or 209, but never 235.”60 On December 9, Cleveland shipped Cruz, lefty Bob Owchinko, righty Rafael Vásquez and catcher Gary Alexander to the Pittsburgh Pirates for disgruntled future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and catcher Manny Sanguillén. .

Cruz finished off a strong winter ball season for Licey after the deal was announced: 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA and six saves in 18 appearances. He began the 1981 season in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League where one of his Portland Beavers teammates was 40-year-old Luis Tiant. “Tiant looked at me and he said, ‘Where you learn to pitch like that?’” recalled Cruz. “I said, ‘From you, sir. On TV’.”61 Cruz returned to the majors on May 11. He allowed a game-tying homer that night in Atlanta, but was otherwise impressive in a three-inning, four-strikeout outing. Cruz’s ERA was 2.25 in 10 appearances when major league players went on strike in June.

The Pirates listed Cruz at 215 pounds, but he said he weighed 198. “Nobody told me I had to. This is a great team, a winning team,” he said. “Willie Stargell walks around, he tells you, ‘Stay happy, man, stay happy.’ I tell you, here everybody is crazy.”62 When the work stoppage was settled after nearly two months, Cruz was the last Pittsburgh player to return and he’d reportedly swelled up to 230.63 Nevertheless, when play resumed, he appeared in three of the first four games, including Tiant’s Pirates’ debut on August 13. “El Tiante” pitched valiantly, departing with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and Pittsburgh trailing Montreal, 2-0. But the Expos’ Andre Dawson drove one Cruz pitch into the left field loge area at Three Rivers Stadium for a grand slam, and Gary Carter crushed the next one to almost the same area.64 Warren Cromartie ripped a double before Cruz recorded the third out. Minutes after the game ended, the Pirates announced that Cruz was being sent back to Triple-A. “Cruz’s problem is that he throws his fastball from the side and his breaking pitch from a three-quarters motion,” observed Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner. “Everybody knows what’s coming.”65

Cruz returned to the Pirates in September and pitched well. He finished the season with a 2.65 ERA in 22 big league outings. For the first time since he turned pro, Cruz did not pitch for Licey that winter. According to his page in the Dominican Baseball Guide, he was suspended from the league.66 In spring training with the Pirates in 1982, Cruz insisted, “I don’t think I’ve had a bad year in the majors.” Asked why he hadn’t added a third pitch to his arsenal, he said, “When you come in a tie game, or a one-run game, you don’t want to walk somebody.”67 On April 1, Pittsburgh traded him to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Nelson Norman and Cruz spent the entire season with the Triple-A Denver Bears. He saved 14 games to tie for the American Association lead and posted a 3.86 ERA in 44 games.

Cruz made six appearances for Licey that winter and returned to the American Association to begin 1983 with Texas’s new affiliate, the Oklahoma City 89ers. He led the circuit with 14 saves, all before July 26, when his 2.16 ERA in 30 outings earned him a ticket back up to the majors. The Sporting News reported that he’d dropped 37 pounds since spring training — from 215 to 178 — at the time of his promotion.68 Cruz remained with the Rangers for the rest of the season and recorded five saves with a 1.44 ERA in 17 games.

Early in the morning of October 8, Cruz shot and killed a 45-year-old farmer during an altercation in the Dominican Republic. The incident was officially ruled an accident.69 On the diamond, Cruz saved 11 games in 22 appearances to become Licey’s all-time leader in that category. In the best-of-seven playoff finals, he shared MVP honors with Ramón De Los Santos after earning two more saves and a win to help Licey prevail. He returned to Oklahoma City for the entire 1984 season, where he had only five saves and a 4.99 ERA in 37 games. After making his final 17 appearances for Licey that fall, he finished the decade-long United States portion of his career with a 7.23 ERA in 31 American Association outings for Detroit’s Nashville Sounds affiliate in 1985. In 187 major league games, Cruz went 18-23 with a 3.09 ERA and 37 saves. His record was 30-29 in 219 appearances in the minors (29 starts) with 48 saves and a 4.07 ERA.

Cruz pitched parts of four more seasons in his home country: four games for the 1985-86 Caimanes del Sur, and a total of 21 appearances for the Aguilas Cibaeñas over the next three years. In 184 Dominican League games he went 22-12 with a 2.87 ERA and 40 saves — second in the circuit’s history at the time he retired. He remained Licey’s all-time saves leader until 2010, when he was surpassed by Oneli Pérez.70

Cruz and his wife María Eufemia Veloz had five children. On September 26, 2004, Víctor Manuel Cruz died from liver problems at age 46. He is buried at the Sabaneta Cemetery in La Vega. “Unfortunately, Víctor was a regular drinker,” wrote Dominican baseball historian Cuqui Córdova. “His life was a bit tormented; he died young. … We regret his sad end. He had many resources but did not know how to handle them.”71

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Paul Proia and Norman Macht and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team..

 

Sources

In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted www.baseball-reference.com and www.retrosheet.org.

Víctor Cruz’s Dominican League stats from https://stats.winterballdata.com/players?key=949 (subscription service — last accessed February 12, 2021).

 

Notes

1 Cuqui Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 1),” Listin Diario (Dominican Republic), August 18, 2017, https://listindiario.com/el-deporte/2017/08/18/478753/víctor-cruz (last accessed February 12, 2021).

2 Neil MacCarl, “The Untouchables,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 19, 1978: B3.

3 Allen Abel, “Blue Jay Bullpen Cruz-ing Along,” Globe and Mail, June 29, 1978: 41.

4 Cuqui Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 3),” Listin Diario, September 15, 2017, https://listindiario.com/el-deporte/2017/09/15/482531/víctor-cruz-el-siempre-recordado (last accessed February 12, 2021).

5 Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 1).”

6 Abel, “Blue Jay Bullpen Cruz-ing Along.”

7 Abel, “Blue Jay Bullpen Cruz-ing Along.”

8 Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 1).”

9 Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 1).”

10 Neil Campbell, “Cruz Pirated from Pittsburgh,” Globe and Mail, November 25, 1978: S6.

11 Charlie Hough also made 35 appearances for the Leones del Escogido in 1970-71. In 1977-78, Cruz’s Licey teammate, Carlos Julio Pérez tied the record. Tony Piña, Guia del Beisbol Profesional Dominicano IV Edicion, (Liga de Beisbol Professional de la Republica Dominicana, Santo Domingo, 1985): 100.

12 Abel, “Blue Jay Bullpen Cruz-ing Along.”

13 “Class A Leagues,” The Sporting News, July 30, 1977: 47.

14 “Anatomy of Trading,” Globe and Mail, November 17, 1978: B1.

15 “Arrival of Eight New Players Should Make Some Jays Nervous,” Globe and Mail, December 12, 1977: S2.

16 “Demery Competes for Long-Relief Job,” Globe and Mail, March 29, 1978: 40.

17 “Cruz One Inning Away from AL Rookie Record,” Globe and Mail, July 31, 1978: S2.

18 Paul Patton, “Former Blue Jay Misses Rico,” Globe and Mail, May 8, 1979: P42.

19 Neil MacCarl, “Cruz Tosses a Lifeline to Sinking Blue Jays,” The Sporting News, July 22, 1978: 16.

20 Patton, “Former Blue Jay Misses Rico.”

21 Paul Patton, “Jays Lose Two to Seattle,” Globe and Mail, July 26, 1978: 29.

22 Neil MacCarl, “Cruz Tosses a Lifeline to Sinking Blue Jays,” The Sporting News, July 22, 1978: 16.

23 MacCarl, “Cruz Tosses a Lifeline to Sinking Blue Jays.”

24 Abel, “Blue Jay Bullpen Cruz-ing Along.”

25 “Cruz One Inning Away from AL Rookie Record.”

26 Neil MacCarl, “The Untouchables,” Globe and Mail, August 19, 1978: B3.

27 MacCarl, “Cruz Tosses a Lifeline to Sinking Blue Jays.”

28 Neil Campbell, “Angel Homework Stops Jays,” Globe and Mail, September 2, 1978: 39.

29 “Víctor Cruz Selected Top Blue Jay Rookie,” Globe and Mail, November 14, 1978: 38.

30 Neil Campbell, “Clancy and Cruz Tie for First Place in Poll to Pick Jays’ Pitcher of the Year,” Globe and Mail, November 22, 1978: 18.

31 Campbell, “Clancy and Cruz Tie for First Place in Poll to Pick Jays’ Pitcher of the Year.”

32 Neil Campbell, “Lemongello is Key to Jays’ Starters,” Globe and Mail, December 14, 1978: 49.

33 MacCarl, “The Untouchables.”

34 Paul Patton, “Jays Place Cruz in Winter League,” Globe and Mail, September 26, 1978: P38.

35 Campbell, “Lemongello is Key to Jays’ Starters.”

36 Bob Sudyk, “Indians Peg Cruz as Rescue Artist,” The Sporting News, December 23, 1978: 50.

37 Paul Patton, “See Concepcion of Future in Trade,” Globe and Mail, December 7, 1978: P47.

38 Sudyk, “Indians Peg Cruz as Rescue Artist.”

39 Patton, “See Concepcion of Future in Trade.”

40 Allen Abel, “Major Leagues One Escape from Little Dominican Town That Produced Rico, Alfredo,” Globe and Mail, July 21, 1979: S8.

41 Paul Patton, “Lots of Relief for Cruz in Cleveland,” Globe and Mail, February 3, 1979: S6.

42 “Training Washed Out by More Florida Rain,” Globe and Mail, March 7, 1979: P34.

43 Paul Patton, “Tribe’s Cruz Has Hefty Problem,” Globe and Mail, March 17, 1979: S6.

44 Patton, “Former Blue Jay Misses Rico.”

45 “Kansas City Finally Beats the Yankees,” Globe and Mail, March 10, 1979: S4.

46 Patton, “Former Blue Jay Misses Rico.”

47 Bob Sudyk, “Indians Turn to Víctor to Gain Winning Touch,” The Sporting News, June 23, 1979: 16.

48 Patton, “Former Blue Jay Misses Rico.”

49 Sudyk, “Indians Turn to Víctor to Gain Winning Touch.”

50 Bob Sudyk, “Indians Get Message from Garcia — And Win,” The Sporting News, August 25, 1979: 15.

51 “Tribe Isn’t Giving Up on Cruz,” Globe and Mail, September 8, 1979: S3.

52 “Tribe Isn’t Giving Up on Cruz.”

53 Bob Sudyk, “Garcia Stays as Manager, Plans to Toughen Indians,” The Sporting News, October 20, 1979: 42.

54 “Víctor Cruz, Un Policia Que Puso el Orden,” Diario Libre (Dominican Republic), May 22, 2020, https://www.diariolibre.com/deportes/blogs/brv/víctor-cruz-un-policia-que-puso-el-orden-GJ19019528 (last accessed February 12, 2021).

55 Bob Sudyk, “Thornton Sheds 10 Pounds, Takes a Whack at Critics,” The Sporting News, March 22, 1980: 42.

56 “‘Trim’ Cruz Happy Man as Pirate,” Globe and Mail, June 1, 1981: S4.

57 Bob Sudyk, “Smoke Signals,” The Sporting News, April 12, 1980: 26.

58 Bob Sudyk, “Manning Takes a Seat as Indians Take Heat,” The Sporting News, October 11, 1980: 39.

59 Bob Sudyk, “Indians Officials to Go Head Hunting,” The Sporting News, October 25, 1980: 33.

60 Dan Donovan, “For New Pirate Pitcher Cruz, It’s Weight and See,” Pittsburgh Press, March 6, 1981: 29.

61 “‘Trim’ Cruz Happy Man as Pirate.”

62 “‘Trim’ Cruz Happy Man as Pirate.”

63 Charley Feeney, “Tanner: Bad Job Not Ticket to Portland,” Pittsburgh Press, August 15, 1981: 12.

64 Bob Smizik, “Expos Cruz-ify Tiant’s Gallant Effort,” Pittsburgh Press, August 14, 1981: 25.

65 Feeney, “Tanner: Bad Job Not Ticket to Portland.”

66 Piña, Guia del Beisbol Profesional Dominicano IV Edicion: 149.

67 Russ Franke, “Cruz Getting a Speedy Trial,” Pittsburgh Press, March 10, 1982: 37.

68 Stan Isle, “No Joy in Tigertown,” The Sporting News, August 22, 1983: 13.

69 Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 3).”

70 “Oneli Pérez Apela al Orgullo Para Ganar,” Listin Diario, October 5, 2011, https://listindiario.com/el-deporte/2011/10/05/206038/oneli-perez-apela-al-orgullo-para-ganar (last accessed February 13, 2021).

71 Córdova, “Beisbol de Ayer: Víctor Cruz (part 3).”

Full Name

Victor Manuel Cruz Gil

Born

December 24, 1957 at Rancho Viejo, La Vega (D.R.)

Died

September 26, 2004 at Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional (D.R.)

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