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SEATTLE (CBS/AP) — The White Sox and the Major League Baseball community on Wednesday were mourning the death of former player Julio Cruz.

Cruz died Tuesday at his home, according to a statement from his family. He was 67.

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“Julio shared his kindness and humor graciously, and we know he is beloved in the baseball community and beyond,” the Cruz family said in their statement.

The speedy second baseman helped the White Sox win the AL West in 1983, after being traded by the Seattle Mariners.

White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Cruz was the catalyst for Chicago’s run to the AL West that year.

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“He had electric ability as a player but was such a big part of those teams because of his personality. He was a caring guy and because of that had an emotional connection with his teammates on and off the field,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Most of us had kept in pretty regular contact with him over the years, but this is a very sad day. He was much too young to leave us, and he will be missed.”

Cruz played 10 seasons total in the majors. He played parts of seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners, beginning with their inaugural season in 1977. Cruz made his debut with Seattle on July 4, 1977, after being selected from the California Angels organization during the expansion draft.

Cruz remained with the White Sox until retiring in 1986. At that point, he went back to Seattle, where he had served as part of the Mariners’ Spanish-language broadcasts since 2003.

Cruz is survived by his wife, Mojgan, sons Austin, Alexander and Jourdan and their families.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Source: CBS Chicago

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