Just as Gotham Card Breaks exclaimed “We’ve got a Green Refractor, good luck”, an Oneil Cruz Rookie Green Refractor numbered to 99 appeared. Good luck indeed. The 6’7″ Shortstop stood tall on this beautiful Emerald Parallel. This pull was part of a Pick Your Pack out of a Mini Hobby Box of the 2022 Topps Finest Baseball offering. A gorgeous set, even the Base Cards look like Inserts. The Dudes from Dover really outdid themselves with this mighty fine, Topps Finest Break.
Oneil Cruz is unusually tall. Not only for a human, but for a Major Leaguer, and especially a Shortstop. The Pittsburgh Pirate hailing from the Dominican Republic is listed as 6 feet 7 inches and 215 pounds, the 2nd tallest Shortstop to ever play the game. The only taller Major League Shortstop was also 6’7″, Joel Guzman, and he played only 9 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007. There have been three 6’5″ MLB Shortstops: Archi Cianfrocco, Troy Glaus, and Michael Morse, but that’s about it.
Oneil got our attention with his height, but he peaked our curiosity with his talent and power. In fact, in August of 2022, Cruz hit the hardest-hit ball in the Statcast era against Atlanta Braves pitcher Kyle Wright. The ball was recorded at 122.4 MPH, and has yet to land.
Originally drafted as an international free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in July 2015, Cruz was traded to the Pirates in July of 2017 where he immediately began to put in work in the Minors. In 2019 he was added to Pittsburgh’s 40 man roster, but due to COVID there were setbacks and he ended up spending more time in Triple-A. Then, on October 2, 2021, Cruz was promoted to the active roster for the first time to make his MLB debut.
His only other game in the 2021 season was the following night, October 3rd, and that’s when he hit his first Major League Home Run! And the rest is history…..in the making.
Interested in more CardBreaks content? Click here for all our latest articles!