You can put a price tag on a feel-good story.
The Dodgers announced today that Luis Cruz replica jerseys ($110) will be on sale in the Left Field Tent at Dodger Stadium, and that Cruz t-shirts ($28) will be arriving by mid-week for sale as well.
The significance of this bit of news, of course, is that these perks usually aren’t extended to players who began the season as spring-training invitees on minor-league contracts.
Just to recap Cruz’s recent journey to the merchandise racks:
The native of Sonora, Mexico, has played for four organizations in the last four years. He signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers in January that paid $13,500/month in the minors and $485,000 for a full season in the majors, essentially the MLB minimum.
Cruz played the last 74 of his 1,223 career minor-league games for Triple-A Albuquerque this season, batting .318/.348/.529. He was recalled on July 2, kept getting playing time at third base and shortstop because of injuries and inefficiency by Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon, and has raised his batting average from .238 on Aug. 12 to .298 entering Saturday’s game.
During his remarkable run — which includes 34 RBIs in 61 games, which projects to 90 RBIs in a 162-game season –Cruz has been a media darling. He’s been a particular favorite of the Spanish-language media. His father, Luis Cruz Sr., was a slugger in the Mexican League in the 1980s and a close friend of Fernando Valenzuela. Connecting Cruz to the local fans has been remarkably easy.
Easier now that they can wear his jersey on their back.
The Dodgers are also offering 20 percent off Dodger player tees ($28) that feature the name and number of select Latino Dodgers. Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez player tees can be purchased for the remainder of the regular season at the Field and Loge level team stores on game days and at the Top of the Park gift shop Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.