“YoYo” Cruz retires from an illustrious career

Written by Bob on October 19th, 2010

San Bernardino Bombers, YoYo Cruz, right, with Truman Thompson, center, and Frank Jimenez sharing good times at the Colton Conquistadors tournament, Sunday, Oct. 17.

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SAN BERNARDINO, CA – Ask anybody what YoYo Cruz’ first name is and you’ll probably get a puzzled look and a reply, “well, he’s YoYo!”

And it’s easy to see why. The man seldom sits still on the bench during a game, and he’s seldom seen without his hearty laugh and engaging smile.

Well liked and admired? Without a doubt.

But not only for his good nature.

For when Cruz steps on to the softball diamond, he’s there to win. And that toughness has also earned him respect and admiration.

In a career that spans four decades, YoYo Cruz, retired from men’s fastpitch softball, Sunday, Oct. 17, after his last at bat with the San Bernardino Bombers during the championship game of the Conquistadors Men’s Fastpitch Tournament in Colton.

But first that nickname. How did you come by it?

“When I was a little kid I was with my dad and I was bouncing up and down and this guy behind us said, ‘shut that little guy up, he’s like a yoyo,’” said Cruz with a chuckle. “That’s how I got my nickname.”

His nickname might be endearing, but his bat is entirely a different story. In his 37-year career, the 58-year-old, right-handed power hitter has faced and decimated some of California’s and the world’s finest pitchers.

YoYo Cruz in his final at bat, showing the fierceness in which he attacked a softball.

Over the years, Beaumont Coyote’s Manager, David Valdivia, has seen Cruz destroy many a fine game by blasting home runs or run-scoring hits off Coyote’s pitcher Truman Thompson.

“YoYo must have hit about .800 off Truman,” said Valdivia with a smile. “He did that against a lot (of pitchers.)”

Thompson’s certainly not alone. There’s a long list of pitchers who have felt the wrath of YoYo’s mighty swing. Compact and powerful, Cruz, has amassed his share of hits off the world’s best pitchers.

His biggest hit and fondest memory comes from facing one of Canada’s greatest pitchers and an ISC Hall of Famer, Mark Smith.

“I was the designated hitter for the (San Bernardino) Stars and hit a home run off him in the 1984 ISC State Tournament in Long Beach that got us into the championship,” Cruz said.

The Stars went on to win the ISC State Tournament and advance to the ISC World Tournament in Allentown, PA, added Cruz, which also rates high on his memory list.

YoYo’s fastpitch career started at age 22 playing both baseball and fastpitch. His was a natural progression, following in his dad, John’s footsteps, along with older brothers, Daniel and Freddy.

“I’m the little brother that they brought along,” he said.

Through the years YoYo has played on some of Southern California’s best fastpitch teams, winning league titles and tournaments too numerous to count. Fond memories indeed, but not necessarily topping his list.

“It’s playing with my teammates and seeing my friends at the ballpark that I’ll remember and miss the most,” he said.

For the record, Yo Yo’s first name is Jesus. And in fastpitch softball, there’s many a pitcher who believes he walks on water.

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Frank "Harpo" Jimenez says:

    It is Jesus. Not the one that can walk on water, That was Teddy Domingquez, God rest his sole.

  2. Joe Avila says:

    I don’t remember YoYo was he playing in the 60s-70s and with what teams?

  3. Frank "Harpo" Jimenez says:

    Sorry for the misspell, soul. I was talking to yoyo and laughing at the same time.

  4. he was hardball catcher and a good one.

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