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Major league baseball pitcher Johan Alexander Santana was born 13 March 1979 in Tovar, Venezuela. His father, Jesus, played semi-professional baseball as a short stop. His main profession was an engineer. The first time Johan Santana tried out for youth baseball, the coach told him he was dressed inappropriately and sent him home. The next day when Johan returned, he was wearing his father's baseball jersey and his coach knew who Jesus Santana was and treated Johan better after that.
As a teen, Johan Santana played center field for the local team, the Chiquilines. Professional baseball scouts did attend Chiquiline games and Johan was soon pursued by the Houston Astros and the Colorado Rockies. Both teams ended up offering Santana the opportunity to join their clubs and Johan signed on with the Houston Astros at the age of sixteen in 1995. The next year, the seventeen year old Santana was playing in the Astro's Dominican Summer League team as a relief pitcher.
At age eighteen, Johan Santana received a promotion to Houston's Gulf Coast League and then played in the New York-Penn league in 1998 for the Auburn Doubledays in 1998. In the 1998 season Johan won seven games and had a total of eighty-eight strike outs in eighty-seven innings. Santana played in a Class A Midwest league in 1999, but his teammate, Aaron McNeal, received the last spot on the Houston Astros team.
Revenge was sweet when, after being selected by the Minnesota Twins, Johan's first major league win was against the Houston Astros. He is said to have framed the scorecard from that game and hung it on a wall in his parent's home. Johan Santana developed a reputation as a talented pitcher and became especially known for his slowball.
Santana won the American League Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006. He also won the American League Gold Glove Award in 2007. In early 2008, Johan Santana was traded to the New York Mets. The Yankees and the Red Sox also wanted him. Johan has a wife, Yasmile, and two daughters, Jasmily and Jasmine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Johan Santana?
Johan Santana is a former professional baseball pitcher from Venezuela, renowned for his time in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets. He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, which is given annually to the best pitchers in the American and National Leagues. Santana was known for his exceptional changeup and his ability to dominate hitters during his prime.
What are Johan Santana's most notable achievements in MLB?
Johan Santana's most notable achievements include winning the Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006 with the Minnesota Twins. He also pitched a no-hitter on June 1, 2012, for the New York Mets, which was the first in the franchise's history. Santana is a four-time All-Star and led the American League in strikeouts three times. His career highlights reflect his status as one of the top pitchers of his era.
How did Johan Santana impact the game of baseball?
Johan Santana had a significant impact on baseball, particularly with his mastery of the changeup, which became a model for other pitchers. His dominance on the mound helped to elevate the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets during his tenure. Santana's presence also brought attention to the talent emerging from Venezuela, inspiring future generations of Venezuelan baseball players.
What was Johan Santana's career like after leaving MLB?
After leaving MLB, Johan Santana attempted comebacks with various teams but was hindered by injuries. Despite signing minor league contracts with the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays, he was unable to return to his previous form and eventually retired. Santana's post-MLB career has been marked by his induction into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2018, honoring his contributions to the team.
Is Johan Santana considered one of the best pitchers in baseball history?
While "best" is subjective, Johan Santana is certainly considered one of the top pitchers of his era. His two Cy Young Awards and numerous other accolades place him among the elite pitchers in baseball history. His peak years, particularly from 2004 to 2006, were marked by a level of dominance that few pitchers have matched, earning him a place in the conversation about the best pitchers in the game.