Monday, January 09, 2006

January 9th, 1975

Walt Cruise Dies

No relation, so far as I know, to Tom, Walt Cruise was a part-time outfielder in the teens and twenties. Cruise had a couple of good years--he was second in the league in OPS+ in 1921, albeit in limited time, and posted respectable numbers as a regular with the Cardinals in 1917. All said though, Cruise appeared in more than one hundred games just three times in his career. What drew my attention, however, were two bits of trivia about the man, one baseball related and one that is, well, kind of baseball related.

The baseball related one concerns Walt's power. Although you wouldn't necessarily know it by looking at his numbers--he hit just thirty home runs in his career, and never more than eight in a season--Cruise was apparently something of a strong guy. This can be established because in 1917 he became the first man to hit a ball out of the ballpark entirely at Braves Field in Boston. Interestingly, Cruise would later be traded to Boston and hit the second ball out of the park, this time wearing the home uniform.

The second thing about Cruise--and this is the bit I really like--concerns his wedding. Cruise apparently got married at home plate in between games of a doubleheader in Cincinnati. This raises two interesting questions. The first is that given Cruise never played for the Reds, what compelled them to allow an opposing player to get married in their stadium between games and why did Cruise himself even want to do that? The second question, of course, is how Cruise ever managed to convince his wife-to-be that home plate at Crosley Field was the perfect romantic place to exchange vows.

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