Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wait, When Did He Play There Wednesday

Every team has them - those players who you barely even remember playing there.  Whether it's a superstar who played his waning days in a new city or a journeyman pitcher who gave your team 160 forgettable innings in the middle of his career, the Pirates have been home to quite a few over the years.  This semi-regular feature will take a look players who spent some less than memorably time in the 'Burgh.

Before the 2004 season, the Pirates traded relief prospect Leo Nunez for 40 year old Benito Santiago.  Despite his age, Santiago had hit for decent average and power in the previous three seasons, making the All-Star team three years earlier, and was expected to take the place of the traded Jason Kendall.  Instead, Santiago (and his $2M salary) were released by early May after a whopping six games.

I love the look of Santiago's signature, and this is one of my favorite autographs both because of the long and successful career he had before coming to Pittsburgh, and the card's clean design and on card signature.  Amusingly, this card is from Topps Update, which was released months and months after Santiago's release, and is one of only a handful of certified autos Santiago has.

Santiago also had a bat card from 2004 Topps Pristine.  Despite having a game used and auto card as a Pirate, he never made it into the base Topps set in black and gold.


  1. This is one of my favorite topics in the world of baseball cards. A large part of my collection is based around the whole "unfamiliar uniform" thing.

    I believe I own two cards of Santiago with the Pirates. Neither of them look quite right to me. It's just hard for me to picture him in the black-and-gold.

    That auto is pretty sweet, though. I'd never seen his signature before this post.

  2. Agreed - I still think of Santiago as a Marlin, personally. His time in Pittsburgh was, obviously, less than memorable.

  3. I doubt that you would ever want to trade either of the cards away, but if you do....let me know. I am interested in both.

  4. I might actually have a double of the Santiago bat card. If I do, it would be in storage back in Pittsburgh, so I'll take a look next time I'm in town.