Jose Santiago (santijo01)

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Jose Guillermo Santiago Guzman

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Sporting a blazing fastball as his calling card, Puerto Rican-born righthander Jose Santiago was signed before the 1949 season by the Cleveland Indians. He had spent the prior two years with the New York Cubans in the Negro American League. Jose Guillermo Santiago pitched on five straight pennant-winning teams in the minors, including the Wilkes-Barre Indians of the Eastern League, where he was a 21-game-winner in 1951, and for the Dallas Eagles where he led the Texas League with 233 strikeouts in 1953. He also helped the Santurce Crabbers win the 1951 Caribbean Series, going 2-0 despite 15 walks in 18 innings. He led the Series in wins.

Jose was briefly with a sixth consecutive champion in 1954 and made it into one game, with no decision, for the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians, but he spent most of that year with the Indianapolis Indians, fighting arm problems. "Pants" as he was called, was back with the Cleveland club for a longer stay in 1955, going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in 17 games. On May 16, 1956 he was purchased by the Kansas City Athletics from the Indians and finished his major league career with the A's, where he went 1-2, giving him a lifetime 3-2 record and a 4.66 ERA during his 56 innings in the big leagues.

In the 1957 Caribbean Series, Santiago threw a three-hit shutout against the champion Marianao Tigers, the lone loss for the Cuban entry. It was his only appearance in that Series. It was one of six Caribbean Series he played in.

Santiago dropped back into the high minors for the rest of his 11-year minor league career. Jose had two double-digit winning seasons left in his arm, winning 11 times in 1958 in a split season between the San Antonio Missions and the Havana Sugar Kings and finished out his minor league career with a bang in 1959, going 14-9 for San Antonio. Santiago wound up with a minor league career record of 112-83 and a 3.22 ERA while pitching 1,503 innings.

Santiago later owned race horses and was a boxing promoter in his native country in Rio Piedras. Also of note there was a different Puerto Rican born right-hander named Jose Rafael Santiago who pitched for the Kansas City Athletics and Boston Red Sox from 1963 to 1970, and yet another pitcher with the same name was on the mound for the Kansas City Royals in the late 1990s.

In 2003, Santiago was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2018 at age 90.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

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