- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 6"
Kelo Cruz played in three decades in the Mexican League.
He debuted in 1939 with his hometown Industriales de Monterrey, going 0 for 9 with a walk. He next appeared in '42, batting .254/.376/.329 with 65 walks and 70 runs in 90 games (in 1940-1941, the Mexican League had been largely taken over by Negro League players, leaving few spots for Mexican natives). The shortstop tied Ramón Lagunas for 7th in the LMB in runs and tied Manuel Salvatierra for 5th in walks. He slipped to .246/.322/.351 in 1943, split between Monterrey and Unión Laguna de Torreón. He did leg out 10 triples; only Alejandro Crespo had more in the league.
Cruz was on the Mexican national team in the 1944 Amateur World Series; he was far from the only pro playing in an amateur-only event in that era as Mexico routinely used Mexican League stars and the US, Hawaii and Panama were among teams to use pros. That summer, he batted .278/.382/.375 for a 108 OPS+ for the Tecolotes de Nuevo Laredo, fielding .912 at short and scoring 67 runs in 90 games. He was 10th in the league in runs (between Silvio García and Chile Gómez) and 6th in walks (57). He batted .259/.383/.339 with 62 walks and 67 runs in 85 games in 1945. His third season with the Tecolotes, he fell to .201/.311/.257; he also was manager part of the year (Red Steiner was their other skipper). That winter, he managed the Ostioneros de Guaymas.
Returning to Monterrey in 1947, he hit .248/.381/.309, followed by .194/.274/.237 the next season. He then was back with Nuevo Laredo for 1949 and batted .238/.416/.268 with 50 walks and 28 runs in 47 games. The walk machine drew 56 more in 71 games with the 1950 Azules de Veracruz, though his batting line was .169/.338/.210 as he brought little else offensively by this point. He had his third stint with Nuevo Laredo to wrap up his career, hitting .232/.366/.339 in 1951 and .239/.372/.331 in 1952 (he was also one of three men to manage the team that year, along with Cubans Roberto Ortiz and Agustín Bejerano).
Overall, he had hit .235/.364/.310 with 468 runs and 516 walks in 827 LMB games. Through 2000, he still ranked 48th in league history in walks despite only playing 12 seasons.