- Richest Athletes › Baseball Players
- Net Worth:
- $13 Million
- Date of Birth:
- Mar 9, 1965 (58 years old)
- Place of Birth:
- Baseball player
What Is Benito Santiago's Net Worth?
Benito Santiago is a retired Puerto Rican professional baseball player who has a net worth of $13 million. Benito Santiago is a right-handed catcher who made his Major League Baseball debut on September 14, 1986, with the San Diego Padres. Santiago played with the Padres until 1992, then he joined the Florida Marlins from 1993 to 1994. He went on to play with the Cincinnati Reds in 1995, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996, the Toronto Blue Jays from 1997 to 1998, the Chicago Cubs in 1999, the Reds a second time in 2000, the San Francisco Giants from 2001 to 2003, the Kansas City Royals in 2004, and, lastly, the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005. Benito finished his pro playing career in April 1995 with a .263 batting average, 217 home runs, and more than 900 runs batted in. Santiago is a five-time MLB All-Star (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 2002) and earned National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1987. He is a three-time Gold Glove Award winner (1998, 1989, and 1990) and a four-time Silver Slugger (1987, 1988, 1990, and 1991). In 2003, Benito was alleged to have been part of MLB's steroid scandal, and his name appeared in the 2007 Mitchell Report. He was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 2015.
Benito Santiago was born Benito Santiago Rivera on March 9, 1965, in Ponce, Puerto Rico. His father, José, was a truck driver who died after an accident with his rig when Benito was just 3 years old. Shortly after, Santiago was abandoned by his mother, who gave him to friends that lived on the opposite side of Puerto Rico.
In September 1982, the San Diego Padres signed Santiago as an amateur free agent. He spent four years in the minor leagues, then 21-year-old Benito debuted with the Padres as a Major Leaguer in September 1986. The following year, he set a rookie record after hitting safely in 34 consecutive games, which was the longest hitting streak achieved by a catcher in MLB history. When the season ended, Santiago had 164 hits, 33 doubles, and a .300 batting average, which would all be career highs for him. Benito was unanimously chosen to be the 1987 National League Rookie of the Year, and he won the Silver Slugger Award that year. In 1988, he received the Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award, and in 1989, he won the Gold Glove Award and served as the starting catcher in the All-Star Game. In 1990, Santiago won the Silver Slugger Award and the Gold Glove Award again, despite missing six weeks of the season after being hit by a pitch. In 1991, he was offered a one-year, $1.65 million contract with the team after asking for a four-year, $11 million contract, so he announced that he would be leaving the Padres after the 1992 season when he would become eligible for free agency. Before the 1992 season began, Benito returned to arbitration and was awarded a one-year, $3.3 million contract, which would've made him the MLB's highest-paid catcher. In September of that year, the team declined to re-sign Santiago for "monetary reasons."
In December 1992, Benito signed with the new franchise the Florida Marlins, and he hit the team's first-ever home run. The team granted him free agency after the 1994 season, and he signed with the Cincinnati Reds in April 1995. Santiago joined the Philadelphia Phillies in January 1996, ending the season with 30 home runs, a career high. He then played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1997–1998) and Chicago Cubs (1999), and he returned to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. From 2001 to 2003, Benito played for the San Francisco Giants, and he shared the Willie Mac Award with his teammate Mark Gardner in 2001. Santiago won the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award in 2002, and the Giants made it to the World Series that year but lost to the Anaheim Angels. Benito signed with the Kansas City Royals in December 2003, and in June 2004, a pitch from Geoff Geary of the Phillies broke his hand. Santiago was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 2004 season, but the team let him go after 23 at-bats. He then signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets, but he only played in a few games.
Benito has four children, Aliyah, Benito Ivan, Benito Jr., and Bennybeth. Benito Jr. is a professional basketball player who plays for the Baloncesto Superior Nacional team the Vaqueros de Bayamón in Puerto Rico. He formerly played baseball and was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 MLB draft.
In 2003, FBI investigators named Santiago as one of the athletes who allegedly received anabolic steroids, and the 2006 book "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports" linked him to performance enhancers. Benito was named in the "Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball" (aka the Mitchell Report) in late 2007. The report stated, "At the end of the 2003 season, Mike Murphy, a Giants clubhouse attendant, was cleaning out Santiago's locker when he found a sealed package of syringes. Murphy brought the syringes to the training room, handed them to [Stan] Conte, and told Conte that he had found them in Santiago's locker. Conte responded that he 'would take care of it.'"
Benito had to sit out most of the 1998 season after he crashed his Ferrari into a tree in Ft. Lauderdale. His passenger, Francisco Arroyo, spent six months in the hospital after being ejected from the car, and Santiago couldn't play baseball again until he had completed nearly a year of therapy. Since Truck Insurance Exchange initially refused to cover Arroyo's medical expenses, Santiago offered to pay him more than $1 million. The insurance company eventually reimbursed Benito $865,000 of his settlement with Francisco.
Santiago won the Silver Slugger Award in 1987, 1988, 1990, and 1991 and the Gold Glove Award in 1988, 1989, and 1990. He was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1987 and National League Championship Series MVP in 2002. Benito was inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in 2015.