- Benito Santiago
Infobox MLB retired
birthdate=birth date and age|1965|3|9
Ponce, Puerto Rico
San Diego Padres
stat3label=Runs batted in
San Diego Padres(by|1986-by|1992)
Toronto Blue Jays(by|1997-by|1998)
San Francisco Giants(by|2001-by|2003)
Kansas City Royals(by|2004)
* 5x All-Star selection (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2002)
Gold Glove Awardwinner (1988, 1989, 1990)
NL Rookie of the Year
Willie Mac Award
Benito Santiago Rivera (born
March 9, 1965in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a former Major League Baseball catcher. He batted and threw right-handed.
Santiago was signed as an
amateur free agentby the San Diego Padreson September 1, by|1982. He made his Major League debut on September 14, by|1986. The next year, he established a Major League record for a rookie by hitting safely in 34 straight games. 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 Leaguecatchers in passed balls, led the majors in fewest errors, and 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 by|1992.
Decline and trades
December 16, 1992, Santiago signed with the newly established franchise Florida Marlinsand hit the first home runin team history. However, Florida released him after two seasons. On April 17, by|1995, the Reds signed him and he briefly recovered his form batting .286. On January 30, by|1996, he joined the Phillies, where he became the first player to hit a grand slam off Greg Madduxin the regular season after Maddux had been pitching for nearly ten years. Maddux had previously surrendered one to Will Clarkin 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 (by|1997-by|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 by|1999 and played for Cincinnati in by|2000.
Resurgence with the Giants
He arrived in San Francisco in
March 17, by|2001. He shared the 2001 Willie Mac Awardwith Mark Gardner, which recognized the spirit and leadership of each. He helped lead the Giants to the playoffs in by|2002. His good hitting continued in the playoffs, where he was named 2002 National League Championship Series MVP.
December 11, by|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 Gearythat broke his hand. After the by|2004 season, the Royals traded him to the Pittsburgh Piratesfor 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 Metsto 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 by|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.
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". [cite web |url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1748786|title=Giambi, Sheffield also implicated in allegations|accessdate=2008-08-01 |work= ESPN.com|publisher= |date= ]
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."
List of famous Puerto Ricans
Top 500 home run hitters of all time
Major League Baseball hitters with three home runs in one game
*baseballstats |mlb= |espn=1791 |br=s/santibe01 |fangraphs=1130 |cube=S/benito-santiago
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