04/17/2007 11:52 AM ET
Jose Cruz Jr.: Baseball in the blood
Jose Cruz Jr. (left) is in his first season with the Padres after playing for the Dodgers last year. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
My career has been like a rollercoaster ride. It's been a rollercoaster of events and a rollercoaster of emotions. There's been plenty of success and plenty of failure. But if I retired and looked back, I would be proud of what I've accomplished.
Despite all of the ups and downs, I feel like I've persevered and competed well among the best baseball players. I'm proud of my accomplishments because they're the result of all the hard work I've put into my career.
Playing on seven teams in the last five years has been kind of hectic. Moving around has been especially difficult for my family. I think that's the toughest part of the game. On one hand, it means seven teams have wanted me in their clubhouses, but I'm a realist and I also think a lot of it had to do with business and financial decisions.
I've put in tons of work and countless hours of practice to get where I am today. But with my family's background, it almost feels as if I've been destined to play Major League Baseball ever since I was 14. I feel like I was meant to play baseball.
I take great pride in my father's accomplishments, too. The reason I'm blessed to have the life I have is because he was able to overcome obstacles and have a good career. He's a very positive man. He battled his heart out. Thanks to his hard work, I'm in the position I'm in today.
When my father was on the Astros and I was in the clubhouse, I mostly hung out with the children of the other players. I hung around Nolan Ryan's kids and Phil Garner's kids. If they were close in age to me then I was hanging out with them.
The persona that my dad gives off on the field -- the serious, stoic side -- is not entirely who he is, by the way. He also has a great sense of humor. He likes to laugh and have a good time. He just doesn't like to show that side on the field very often.
Now when I go back to Houston and play at Minute Maid Park, I enjoy looking up and seeing my dad's No. 25 in the rafters. It's just something wonderful to behold and I never get tired of seeing it.
Baseball has definitely been the family business.
Veteran outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. is in his first season with the Padres after playing in 86 games for the Dodgers last year. He hit his first home run with San Diego on April 8 and his next homer will be the 200th off his career, which began in 1997 with the Mariners. Cruz Jr. is also the son of long-time Astros outfielder/coach Jose Cruz.