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José Cruz  

Former MLB Player, Coach & Baseball Front Office Executive; Houston Astros, National League Most Valuable Player Award

José Cruz Dilan nicknamed Cheo, is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball player, coach and baseball front office executive. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder from 1970 to 1988, most prominently as a member of the Houston Astros.

The left-hand hitting Cruz was one of the most popular players in Houston Astros team history, leading the team to their first-ever division title and postseason berth in 1980. A two-time All-Star, Cruz hit .300 or above for the Astros six times, won two Silver Slugger Awards and led the National League in hits in 1983 while playing his home games in the cavernous, pitcher-friendly Houston Astrodome. He finished in the top ten of the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting three times and won a record four Astros team MVP awards. He was the all-time leader in hits for the Astros (1,937) until being passed by Craig Biggio. Cruz was twice named as the Astros' nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for his humanitarian efforts. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees.

After his playing career, Cruz spent several years as the Houston Astros' first base coach and is currently a community outreach executive for the Astros. He is a member of one of Puerto Rico's most famous Major League families and is the brother of former Major Leaguers Héctor Cruz and Tommy Cruz. His son, José Cruz Jr., is also a former Major League outfielder. The Astros honored Cruz's career accomplishments on October 3, 1992 by permanently retiring his jersey number 25. In 2019, Cruz was inducted into the Houston Astros Hall of Fame. Cruz still holds the Astros team record for career triples 35 years after his retirement with 80.

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