CARLOS MANUEL SANTIAGO
Negro League Legend
Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer
- Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico on March 2, 1926.
- Selected in 1944 to play on the Puerto Rican All-Star team in the Caribbean World Series in Caracas, Venezuela.
- Upon return signed first professional Contract with Mayaguez Indians; First professional season 1944-45.
- Traveled to New York on a barnstorming trip with Puerto Rican All-Stars. Immediately spotted by Negro League veteran John Beckwith and signed by Atlanta Black Crackers.
- Midway through season left Black Crackers and signed with the New York Cubans of the Negro National League.
- Played second base and shortstop for Negro National League New York Cubans 1945 and 1946.
- In 1947 Santiago became the first black Puerto Rican to break the color barrier into "organized" baseball when he signed with the Stamford Bombers in the Colonial League. This historic signing opening the door for other Latin players such as Minoso, Marichal, Clemente and Cepeda who would soon follow.
- By 1950 was one of the top hitters in the Colonial League with a .341 average.
- In 1951 Bill Veeck and Lou Boudreau invited Santiago to the Cleveland Indians training camp, but fate intervened as Carlos was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea.
- After 25 months and five days in the army, Santiago was honorably discharged as a sergeant.
- Continued playing professionally in the U.S., Canada. Mexico, Columbia and Puerto Rico until 1960.
- An excellent defensive second baseman, Santiago along with Artie Wilson were known as, "King of the Double Play" in Puerto Rico.
- Managed and coached for 23 years after retiring.
- General Manager of the Mayaguez Indians in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico for three years.
- Served as National Instructor of Baseball in Columbia, South America for four years.
- Scout for the California Angels for three years.
- Elected to the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.
- Member of the Board of Directors, Negro League Baseball Players Association.
- One of only fifteen surviving Latin American veterans of the Negro Leagues.
Photos and text By Todd Bolton, Negro League Baseball Historian (c) 1999-2003