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Rafael Santana
vs. the Mets
Rafael Santana
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Game Log Memories of
Rafael Santana
Rafael Santana
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 110 of 1043 players
Rafael Francisco Santana
Born: January 31, 1958 at La Romana, Dominican Republic
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.01 Weight: 156

Rafael Santana was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on September 23, 2010, March 15, 2013, March 16, 2013, September 27, 2015, and August 5, 2016.

ss 2b

First Mets game: July 12, 1984
Last Mets game: October 4, 1987

Share your memories of Rafael Santana


Rafael was the consummate rally killer. I've never seen someone hit into more 1-2-3 double plays with the bases loaded as Rafael did. We needed a DH for the shortstop in those days. The pitchers were all better hitters than Rafael.

flushing flash
It was good to see Rafi with the other 1986 Mets on "Ten Greatest Moments" day at Shea. Unfortunately it looks like Rafi has aged faster than his counterparts. While Roger McDowell looks like he could and should still be playing, Rafi looked to be about fifty.

Danny Erickson
December 18, 2000
I was impressed with Raffi when he first came up to the Mets in 1984. That was a fun team, that I wish it would have made it to the postseason. It's a shame that Raffi had his worst year with the bat in 1986. He was a little bit better than 218.

Steve Nadel
December 23, 2000
It shows you how great that 1986 Mets team must have been. They had a .218 hitting shortstop with mediocre range. Who knows how many more games they would have won even with an acrobatic shortstop like Rey Ordonez, or a better offensive shortstop.

March 18, 2001
The Mets couldn't wait to give his job to Elster, who had proven nothing at the Major League Level. Elster had more talent and power, but Santana came to play and win every day. They gave up a steady, professional presence for another party boy - just what they needed.

Leo Foster
May 25, 2001
I always wished the Mets had kept Jose Oquendo as their shortstop in the mid-80s instead of giving the job to Santana. Oquendo had more range and eventually became a much better hitter than Santana ever was.

flushing flash
June 6, 2001
He was a useful guy to have around. Nobody picked up dead birds quite like Rafi.

Joe Figliola
April 5, 2002
I will NEVER forget Phillies pitcher Don Carman EXPLODING on television after giving up his THIRD home run to Santana in 1987. Raffi teeing off that $#@#$!baby definitely is in my top five moments from that season.

Larry Burns
June 19, 2002
I cannot believe this guy hit under 220 in 1986. He was even a worse hitter than Rey Ordonez, but he seemed to get bigger hits in clutch situations. He was an underrated shortstop. But when you have as much depth as that team had, you could carry a glove guy like Raffy!

October 2, 2002
Can anyone forget Santana's unique ability to make throws from shortstop that always beat the runner by a step, regardless of how hard the ball was hit, or how slow the runner was?

February 1, 2004
I liked Raffi. Not flashy, not much range, but sure-handed. Somone who made the routine plays (something Oquendo didn't always do). Made some really bad plays (picked off third base to end a game, shied away from a foul pop in the NLCS vs. Houston that the batter then hit for a 2-run HR) - but he had an amazing talent for "clearing the pitcher" - geting 2 out-hits in the 8-hole so instead of the pitcher leading off the next inning it was Mookie/Dykstra. Also hated the way Billy Martin ran him off the Yankees - that really sucked!

June 7, 2004
I still envision Raffi doing the sign of the cross before every at bat. Honestly, I think he needed more than the help of God to get a base hit if you ask me.

November 16, 2004
Raffi had very good hands and footwork at short as well as an accurate arm, the reality is that it pretty much ends there. As McCarver would say, Raffi was the master of “get-cha by a step” as his throws to first would get runners by half a step. The only problem was that if the ball was in the hole, his throws would float to first and any runner with decent speed would beat it. Also when turning the double play, Raffi would come across the bag and his throw would float to first and the runner would beat the DP. He was probably the worst ranging shortstop I have ever seen on a winning team, so many balls towards the middle with go right through. As I said before, if the ball was in the hole and IF Raffi could get to it (not successful many times) he could not get enough on the ball to get the out call at first. I don’t know if Raffi had a wooden leg and wooden arm but he sure played like it.

jamey bumbalo
November 10, 2005
I always loved how Rafael seemed to never hurry or fire a throw to first base; he always gently lofted the ball to first just in time to get the runner. How did he always time those tosses just right? Playing third for a law school softball team, I threw the same way. The first time I did so, the shortshop and captain, also a Mets fan, scoffed and asked, "Where did you get that arm? K-Mart?" I told him I was throwing like Rafael Santana, and for three years he laughed every time I made a throw to first base.

Jonathan Stern
December 3, 2005
I was surprised by the off-color stories about Santana in the recent book about the 1986 team. I had long thought that he was a quiet and humble supporting player in the Al Weis mold, minus the major heroics. Maybe Santana proved it was possible to be both. Or perhaps the 1986 team as a whole made it possible.

November 1, 2006
To me he always seemed like a decent fielder and good team player; the kind of guy who you wanted as a teammate and who didn't cause trouble. Sure, his hitting wasn't great, but in the '80s there really weren't shortstops with Derek Jeter's offensive numbers.

Joe Figliola
December 6, 2006
Y'know, I screwed up. I just checked Santana's game log from '87 and it turns out he hit TWO home runs off Carman. I thought it was three; but they were hit off him in something like an eight-game span. Still, watching Carman throw such a hissy fit on TV after Raffi hit the second one remains priceless.

Forgive me for the inaccuracy. However, I'm a little surprised no one called me on that since I wrote my first Santana tag a couple of years ago.

Mike A.
November 23, 2007
I liked Santana, he was steady and sure. He didn't have the range, hitting skills, or the ability to do somersaults like his rival Ozzie Smith. But he was dependable, the guy gave his best.

As a previous poster had mentioned, he excelled at getting a two-out hit and clearing the pitcher's spot to make way for Dykstra & Backman for the bottom of the next inning.

During '86, alot of the fans and sports writers wanted Elster in there right away, but my memories of Elster in September was that he was way too green...heck, he hit worse than Santana. But everyone knew Elster was going to be the Opening Day shortstop for '87, Santana did too, but he didn't make a fuss.

Went to the Yanks and promptly dropped off the face of the Earth. Was he at the 20th anniversary of the '86 team?

Mike A
December 9, 2007
My error about my previous post

Elster didn't get the full time start as SS prior to '88.

Problem is, I don't recall Santana playing much in '87, was he injured?

I remember Bill Almon playing quite a few games as SS in '87, and Elster playing a few games as a late season call-up, but yeah, Santana was largely invisible.

Stephen Vargo
March 27, 2008
I'm not even a Mets fan, but I loved watching him play. This guy couldn't hit. He couldn't field. He had no arm and no range, but he was still in the lineup almost every single day for the greatest team of my lifetime.

Feat Fan
May 18, 2008
So my ex-wife (I've had a few) and I get home plate field box tickets in June of 87 for Phillies. Not sure who started for NY, seemed that every home game that I went to from 85-88 was either Ronnie or Bobby O but for certain, Don Carman toiled the hill for the Philadelphians.

This was 1987, the year of (roids??) where 30+ hitters had 30 or more home runs, even Wade Boggs drilled 24.

Up comes Ralphy; he rips a rope, a rising line drive to dead CF that left the park in seconds. I thought I detected a look of amazed shock on his face along with Mets coach Bill Robinson. Certainly, Don Carmen was!

Bob P
May 19, 2008
Feat Fan, that was Friday night June 18, 1987!

HoJo hit one off Carman in the bottom of the second and Santana followed up with a fourth inning dinger just two batters after Kevin McReynolds hit one out. That gave the Mets a 5-0 lead in a game they would win, 8-1.

And the Mets starter that night was John Mitchell, who threw the only complete game of his career and picked up his first major league win.

Quality Met
October 9, 2017
Rafael may be the least-known member of the ’86 Mets everyday players. He was an old-fashioned shortstop who was an excellent fielder, but had a low batting average with very few home runs. Raffy wasn’t flashy or the type who made a lot of diving catches. He was simply a fine defensive player who always did his job well. Santana’s contribution to the World Championship was just as important as anything provided by the guys in the upper half of the batting order. Glovework must ne never be overlooked.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Rafael was the only non-American that played for the Mets in their title season. This is an amazing fact when compared to today’s major league rosters, all of which have their share of players from countries around the world.

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