Benito Santiago

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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 seven 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.

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