Astros Fire Jose Cruz; Um, Was That Really Wise?

Nothing much amazes me anymore, especially after what the cops caught that guy doing in Costco. But I’m still taken aback at times over how tone-deaf pro sports front office folks can be when it comes to the public relations game.

Jose Cruz

The Houston Astros fired first-base coach Jose Cruz today. You might just as well say “The Giants banned Willie Mays from AT&T Park” or “The Cardinals kicked away Stan Musial’s cane and sent him headlong down a flight of stairs.” Not that Cruz was in that class as a player, but he’s an icon in Houston, and that franchise needs all the icons — and fan good will — it can get.

Sample comment from a reader of the HOUSTON PRESS:

It’s another dunce move in the Astros PR department. Just like when they cut Alan Ashby loose for no good reason. The reason we’re upset is just as you explained it…The 1B coach has limited to no role, so why fire the guy? The fans love him, he’s great for the community (especially the Hispanic community) and he works hard. I guess you and Richard Justice are drinking the same Kool-Aid. Are you mad about the Texans strength and Conditioning Coach as well?– AB

The team offered Cruz another job within the organization, so, figures the PRESS’s John Royal, what’s the big deal? The Astros are just beginning interviews for a new manager and Drayton McLane obviously is looking toward a new direction. But fellas, there was a better way to do it than this.

Get him to resign gracefully. Make it look good. Don’t just tape a pink slip to his locker. Sheesh.

In addition to being the only Astro who has been involved in all nine of the team’s post-season appearances (as a player and a coach), Cruz had played in more games than any other Astro in history (1,870) before being passed by Craig Biggio in 2001. A game, I might add, in which Cruz coached.


The fate of the Astros’ 2009 coaching staff also has been set, with only hitting coach Sean Berry retaining his position. Dave Clark, who served as interim manager for the final 13 games after Cecil Cooper was fired, can be on the 2010 coaching staff if he isn’t hired as manager.