1969 BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE DAY- JOSE SANTIAGO- BOSTON RED SOX

 

Jose Santiago was a  right handed pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics [1963-65} and Boston Red Sox from 1966-70.  Going into the 1969 season he twenty-eight years old. The season before he was having a career year- he was 9-4 with a 2.25 ERA after 18 starts -and was made the American League All-Star team- then an elbow injury ended his season and effectively ended his career. He would pitch in a total of 18 more games in 1969-70 but never start or win another game.

Born in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico on August 15, 1940, Santiago made the major leagues with Kansas City at the age of 23. He was mainly a relief pitcher with the Athletics- in 1963 and 65 he was only with the club briefly pitching 4 games each year, in 1964 he appeared in 34 games starting eight. After the 1965 season his fortunes changed when he was sold to the Boston Red Sox.

The meat of Santiago’s career was 1966 to the mid-way point of 1968 as a Red Sox. In 1966 he went 12-13 with a 3.66 ERA- which by that day’s standards was not a good ERA. Today he’d be making millions. He started 28 games in 1966 with the Red Sox.

1967 was the Year of the Impossible Dream in Boston. The Red Sox went from 9th place in 1966 to the World Series in 1967 and Santiago contributed by going 12-4 mostly in relief. He pitched in 50 games, started 11. His .750 winning percentage led the AL.

Jose started two games in the 1967 World Series and was the losing pitcher in both games although he did start Game 1 of the World Series losing 2-1 to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals. Santiago accounted for the only Red Sox run in the game with a home run. In Game 4 Santiago would draw as his pitching opponent the great Gibson again but would have a terrible start only getting 2 outs -giving up 6 hits and 4 runs before being taken out.

The promising 1968 season was ended with the elbow injury after making the All-Star team and that was basically it for Jose Santiago’s career as a big league pitcher. When he attempted to come back Santiago found that he had a difficult time throwing his slider which was his best pitch. But Santiago has stayed active over the years in baseball in his native Puerto Rico- as a baseball announcer, general manager, Little League Baseball president, manager of Puerto Rico’s National Team and amateur baseball team. In 2000 he was the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs Class A team at Daytona Beach. Santiago is now seventy-seven years old.

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