Benito Santiago: Wikis


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Benito Santiago
Born: March 9, 1965 (1965-03-09) (age 44)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 14, 1986 for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
April 11, 2005 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Career statistics
Batting average     .263
Home runs     217
Runs batted in     920
Career highlights and awards

Benito Santiago Rivera (born March 9, 1965 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a former Major League Baseball catcher. He batted and threw right-handed.


Baseball career

First years

Santiago was signed as an amateur free agent by the San Diego Padres on September 1, 1982. He made his Major League debut on September 14, 1986. The next year, he established a Major League record for a rookie by hitting safely in 34 straight games.[1] This also stands today as the longest hitting streak ever by a catcher. He won the National League's Rookie of the Year Award unanimously that year. In his third year, he led all National League catchers in passed balls, led the major league catchers with the most errors, yet won a Gold Glove Award. Santiago was known for his ability to throw out would be base stealers from his knees with great efficiency. He remained with the Padres for 7 seasons before being granted free agency in 1992.

Decline and trades

On December 16, 1992, Santiago signed with the newly established franchise Florida Marlins and hit the first home run in team history. However, Florida released him after two seasons. On April 17, 1995, the Reds signed him and he briefly recovered his form batting .286. On January 30, 1996, he joined the Phillies, where he became the first player to hit a grand slam off Greg Maddux in the regular season after Maddux had been pitching for nearly ten years. Maddux had previously surrendered one to Will Clark in the 1989 National League Championship Series, and has only allowed two since Santiago took him deep. Santiago also hit a home run in four consecutive at bats in the same season. He then went to the Blue Jays (1997-1998) where he lost almost the entire 1998 season to a serious injury sustained in a car crash in Florida. A free agent again, he played 89 games for the Cubs in 1999 and played for Cincinnati in 2000.

Resurgence with the Giants

He arrived in San Francisco in March 17, 2001. He shared the 2001 Willie Mac Award with Mark Gardner, which recognized the spirit and leadership of each. He helped lead the Giants to the world series in 2002. His good hitting continued in the playoffs, where he was named 2002 National League Championship Series MVP.

Later years

In December 11, 2003, Santiago, again a free agent, signed with the Kansas City Royals. By June 18, he was hitting .274 with six home runs and 23 RBI when he was hit by a pitch from Geoff Geary that broke his hand. After the 2004 season, the Royals traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Leo Nunez, a minor league pitcher. The Pirates let Santiago go after a mere 23 at bats in favor of giving playing time to young David Ross. Santiago signed with the New York Mets to a minor-league contract, but he appeared in only a handful of games. He opted out of his Triple-A contract, but did not play in the major leagues in 2006.

With his career over, discussions arose about where he ranks among the game's all-time catchers. His main claim to fame was his excellent durability, which allowed him to post productive numbers late in his career, at an age when most catchers are already retired.

Steroid allegations

In 2003, Santiago was named by FBI investigators as one of the athletes alleged to have received anabolic steroids. He was linked to performance enhancers in the book Game of Shadows.[2]

On December 13, 2007, Santiago was written about in the Mitchell Report on page 134. "At the end of the 2003 season, Mike Murphy, a Giants clubhouse attendant, was cleaning out Santiago’s locker when he found a sealed package of syringes. Murphy brought the syringes to the training room, handed them to Conte, and told Conte that he had found them in Santiago’s locker. Conte responded that he “would take care of it.” Murphy recalled that the Giants’ assistant athletic trainer Dave Groeschner also was present in the training room during this conversation."

See also


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Todd Worrell
National League Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Chris Sabo
Preceded by
Craig Counsell
National League Championship Series MVP
Succeeded by
Iván Rodríguez

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