Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
Nelson Cruz played in 606 games for the Mariners across four seasons; his 163 homers with the franchise are the most for a single team in his career Via @Mariners on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - All good things must come to an end, even a 19-year career for one of the best Dominican players in the history of Major League Baseball. On Opening Day, the Seattle Mariners prepared a touching gesture for former designated hitter and right-fielder Nelson Cruz, who spent a large part of his long and successful career in the city of Seattle.

Cruz signed a one-day contract to officially put an end to his career but this time as a member of the Mariners. He spent four of his 19 seasons in the majors in the Pacific Northwest, earning three All-Star appearances and, most importantly, becoming a cult hero for baseball fans in Seattle.

The Dominican was a force during his four seasons with the Mariners. After a career-high 40 homers in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles, Cruz arrived to Seattle as one of the best hitters in the league, connecting at least 35 home runs in each of his four years with the team.

He won two of his four Silver Slugger trophies with the Mariners and earned MVP votes in his first three seasons there. In 2017, he led the majors with 119 RBIs and finished one homer short of linking four straight seasons with at least 40 HR.

One of the best Dominican players in the history of the sport, Cruz ranks among the top 15 Dominicans with the most games played (2,055) and All-Star appearances (7). He is also part of a selected group of players from the country to finish their careers with at least 2,000 hits and 400 homers. Only Albert Pujols, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramírez and Hall of Famers David Ortiz and Adrián Beltré connected more home runs than Cruz (484) in that group.

He was a feared player in the postseason too. Only nine players in MLB history have more home runs in the postseason than "Boomstick" Cruz, who finished his career with 18. Six of those came in 2010 and eight in 2011, when he set a record for most HR in a single postseason series in the ALCS. As a member of the Texas Rangers, Cruz connected six homers to help his team reach the World Series and earned him MVP honors.

As the guest of honor, Cruz was the person in charge to throw the first pitch of the game and signed his symbolic one-day contract right after. "I always identified as a Mariner, even though I spent more time playing for the Rangers," Cruz said.

Cruz spent his last season in the majors with the San Diego Padres. At the age of 42, he still managed to play in 49 games. He will be eligible to be immortalized in baseball's Hall of Fame starting in 2029.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.