Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz had been sitting on 999 career RBI since hitting a solo home run one week ago against the Orioles. Cruz finally crossed into quadruple digits, blasting a solo home run off of Padres starter Joey Lucchesi in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday night. Cruz’s homer, his 35th of the season, helped cut the Mariners’ deficit to two runs at 5-3.
Cruz, 38, has had a remarkable offensive career. He has spent 14 seasons in the big leagues, but the first four he wasn’t given the opportunity to play regularly. Still, he has managed 1,000 career RBI, something only 285 other hitters have done in their careers, along with 358 homers and an overall .275/.342/.519 batting line.
Cruz is tied for 86th on the all-time home run leaderboard with Yogi Berra and Carlos Lee. Cruz is a free agent after the season. Given his age and the recent trend of a weak free agent market, it remains to be seen just how much further up the ladder he can go. If he’s able to play and stay health next season, he should at least get to 400 career dingers, something only 55 players to date have done.
In 2016, late pitcher Roy Halladay was asked if he would prefer to wear a Blue Jays or Phillies cap on his plaque if he were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Per Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star, Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He added, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”
Obviously, circumstances have changed as Halladay tragically died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida in November 2017. Halladay was elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, becoming the first player to be posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since Christy Mathewson in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural year.
Today, Arash Madani reports that Halladay’s wife Brandy said her late husband will not wear a cap with the emblem of either team on his plaque. He will instead be portrayed with a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”
Halladay spent 16 years in the majors, 12 with the Blue Jays and four with the Phillies. He meant a lot to both teams. He was a six-time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Jays. He won the NL Cy Young in 2010 with the Phillies and was a runner-up for the award in 2011, making the All-Star team both years and helping the Phillies continue their streak of reaching the postseason, which lasted from 2007-11. Halladay authored a perfect game in the regular season against the Marlins and a no-hitter in the postseason against the Reds as a member of the Phillies in 2010 as well.
In aggregate, Halladay won 203 games with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749 1/3 innings during his storied 16-year career which was unfortunately cut a bit short by injuries.