Thursday, May 22, 2014

#220 Benito Santiago

About the Front: Ugh. It always drove me nuts when Topps called him "Benny". As far as I know, he was always known as "Benito".

About the Back: I was impressed by Santiago's 21 steals as a rookie catcher...until I looked him up and saw that he was thrown out 12 times. Whoops.

Triple Play:

1. In 1987, Benito set a rookie record with a 34-game hitting streak.

2. Santiago was famous for throwing out baserunners from his knees, and three times led the National League in assists by a catcher.

3. On May 3, 1996, he hit the first grand slam ever allowed by Greg Maddux, a ninth inning tiebreaker that spurred a Phillies win over Atlanta.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I thought it was odd that Benito wore the jersey number "09" from 1991-1994. Supposedly he switched from "9" because the strap on his chest protector rubbed against the number and bothered him. Adding the zero created space in between the two digits for the strap to rest.

Bill James Said: "Swung at the first pitch 49.4% of the time, the highest percentage of any major league regular."

On This Date in 1993: May 22. Toronto mascot B.J. Birdy is ejected by second base umpire Jim McKean for trying to incite the crowd against McKean. Get the bizarre details here.

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