Player: Santorini, Al
Card: 1972 Topps #723
Alan Joel Santorini (born May 19, 1948 in Irvington, NJ) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He played all or part of six seasons in the majors, from 1968 until 1973, for the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
Al was named to Newark Star-Ledger’s All-Century Team 1900-1999. As a player at Union High School, Al earned the NY Daily News Metropolitan Pitcher of the Year and Union County Athlete of the Year in 1966. He was first team All-State for three years, was inducted in to both Union County and Union HS’s Hall of Fames, and achieved a NJ State Senate Proclamation. After helping his team win the Greater Newark Tournament, he recorded a no-hitter, 62 strikeouts, thus winning the State Championship #1 in NJ. He was honored by Union Township with a special Al Santorini Day Parade in 1969.
He was the first round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1966. He was a First Round Draft pick of the San Diego Padres in the Expansion Draft of 1969. In 1969, he led Padre pitchers (along with Joe Niekro) in wins, winning eight games that season. and was named San Diego Padres Rookie of the Year and the Padre Pitcher of the Year. In 1971, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. There he recorded four complete game shutout wins in 1972 and the Cardinals named him Pitcher of the Month.
On May 26, 1971, Santorini started both games of a doubleheader for the Padres against the Houston Astros. He retired one batter in the opener, then turned over the game to lefty Dave Roberts to face a line-up loaded with seven left-handed batters. He made a regular start in the second game, pitching six solid innings. Manager Preston Gomez’s ruse was for naught, however, as the weak-hitting Padres lost both ends of the doubleheader.
Though most known for his baseball career, while at Union High School he was also an all-county starting quarterback, throwing and running for 31 touchdowns during his seasons in 1964 and 1965, and he was the second highest average bowler on the 1966 State championship team.
In his Letters from Home Plate response, Al lists Mickey Mantle as his favorite player growing up, Lee May as the toughest hitter he ever faced, and Busch Stadium as his favorite park to play in. His favorite teammates were Joe Torre and Dick Kelly.
Santorini is part of the Born in New Jersey Tour – go to the Next Stop
Al is part of the St. Louis Cardinals Players Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all Al’s baseball cards at TCDB