Glancing Back, and Remembering Jose Santiago
Jose Santiago played a major role in the return to prominence by the Boston Red Sox in 1967. The right-handed Santiago was effective as both a starter and a reliever, leading the American League in winning percentage in 1967.
Santiago was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1959 and made his debut with the A’s in 1963, picking up a relief victory in his first major league appearance. He was 0-6 for the A’s in 1964, working primarily out of the Kansas City bullpen. He spent nearly all of the 1965 season back in the minor leagues, and then got his career break when the Red Sox purchased his contract prior to the 1966 season. Santiago made 28 starts for Boston in 1966 (with seven relief appearances), going 12-13 with a 3.66 ERA.
His best season came in 1967. Again splitting his appearances between the starting rotation and middle relief, Santiago was 12-4 with a 3.59 earned run average. He was particularly effective down the stretch, going 8-0 after July 5. He was 5-0 in September with a 2.83 ERA and posted two complete games in three September starts.
Santiago pitched the opening game of the 1967 World Series, losing 2-1 to a Bob Gibson six-hitter. In his first World Series at-bat, Santiago hit a solo home run off Gibson for Boston’s only run that day. For the Series, Santiago was 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA.
Santiago worked strictly as a starter in 1968, going 9-4 with a 2.25 ERA by the All-Star break. He was named to the American League All-Star team, but an elbow injury kept him from playing – and effectively wiped out the rest of that season and, ultimately, his major league career. He appeared in only 10 games in 1969 and eight more in 1970, with rehab stints in the minor leagues both seasons. But Santiago did not pitch again in the major leagues after July 1970. He retired with a 34-29 record and a 3.74 career ERA.