Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today - Jose Santiago

Jose Guillermo Santiago, born September 4, 1928 in Coamo, Puerto Rico, pitched for the 1947 Negro League World Series Champion New York Cubans.  Before the next season, Cubans’ owner Alex Pompez sold a number of his players to Major League teams for money to keep his team operating.  The 5’10”, 175 pound right handed Santiago went to the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians were rich in pitching during the late 1940s and early 1950s.  An aging but still effective Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn were Hall of Fame pitchers and Mike Garcia had a number of good seasons.  Santiago stayed in the team's minor league system for six years before making his Major League debut on April 17, 1954.  He became the second Puerto Rican to play in the American League. 

In his debut, Santiago pitched one and two thirds innings, walking two , and striking out one.  He gave up one run.  It would be his only appearance that year.  In 1955, he pitched in 17 games for the Indians and posted a 2 - 0 record.  He was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in 1956.  He had a 1 - 2 record in nine appearances when the team released him on July 15.

Santiago had some success in the minor leagues afterwards but never again pitched for a Major League team.

Who was the first Puerto Rican to play in the American League just three days before Santiago in 1954?

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