Happy birthday to former Ranger pitcher Julio Santana, who turns 40 years old today.
Santana was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old in 1990, back when the Rangers were still big players in Latin America in the Tom Grieve days.
Santana was at one point one of the Rangers' most highly regarded prospects, and Baseball America had him ranked #44 on their top 100 list heading into the 1995 season, ahead of guys like Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Jeff Suppan and Trot Nixon (as well as ahead of future Ranger greats John Wasdin and Benji Gil).
Santana was just okay in 1995 and 1996 in the minors, however, before debuting in the majors in 1997, when he posted a whopping 6.75 ERA in 104 innings pitched for the Rangers. Santana then allowed 5 runs in 5.1 innings in 1998 for Texas before Texas waived him in April, 1998, losing him to Tampa Bay.
Tampa had Santana for the 1998 season and part of the 1999 season before trading him to Boston, although Santana never actually ended up pitching for Boston. Santana ended up logging 479 innings in the majors, pitching for Montreal, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia as well as the Rangers and Rays, and last year actually pitched 12 innings in the Independent Canadian-American Association at the age of 39.