“Around the horn, Santo, Kessinger, Beckert, Banks, the infield third to first.”
Those words were spoken hundreds of times by Cubs play-by-play announcer Jack Brickhouse from 1965 to 1971, when those four were mainstays in a Cubs infield that thrilled fans and came oh-so-close to ending the team’s postseason drought.
Ron Santo passed away in 2010; Ernie Banks left this Earth in 2015.
Today, we have lost another Cubs legend:
We lost a great one today, Glenn Beckert. Glenn was My friend, my @Cubs teammate, and the best man at my wedding. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Beckert family. pic.twitter.com/JYgadyLPK8— Fergie Jenkins (@fergieajenkins) April 12, 2020
Glenn Beckert was born in Pittsburgh October 12, 1940, and signed with the Red Sox in 1962 as an amateur free agent, back in the pre-draft days. The Cubs claimed him in what was called the “first-year draft” after the 1962 season, and he spent the next two years in the Cubs farm system.
Beckert might have spent more time in the minor leagues, but the Cubs were looking for a new second baseman after the tragic death of Ken Hubbs in a plane crash before the 1964 season, so Beckert was given the job, making his major-league debut exactly 55 years ago today, April 12, 1965.
He would be a mainstay in the Cubs infield for the next nine seasons, a solid defender who was mostly a singles hitter. In his Cubs seasons he hit .283/.318/.345 in 1,247 games with 22 home runs, a good BA hitter who rarely walked or struck out — he had just 260 walks and 243 strikeouts in his MLB career. In 1968 he put together a 27-game hitting streak, then just one game short of the franchise record, and hit .294. That BA might not sound like much now, but in the Year of the Pitcher, that was good for seventh-best in the National League. He also led the league in runs that year with 98. In 1971 Beckert hit .342/.367/.406, finishing second to Joe Torre for the N.L. BA title and in 11th place in MVP voting.
When the 1969 crew was broken up after the 1973 season, Beckert was traded to the Padres for Jerry Morales. He played for San Diego in 1974 and 1975 and then retired. Per his SABR biography, after baseball he had a successful career as a commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Beckert and the rest of that infield will never be forgotten. Sincere condolences to Glenn’s family, friends and teammates and to everyone who rooted for him as a Cubs player. Glenn Beckert was 79 years old.
UPDATE: The Cubs issued the following statement about Glenn Beckert’s passing.
“Glenn Beckert was a wonderful person who also happened to be an excellent ballplayer. He was a mainstay at second base for the Cubs for nine seasons from 1965-73, earning a spot on four All-Star teams and a reputation for one of the toughest at-bats in the league as evidenced by his low strikeout rate. Glenn more than held his own playing alongside future Hall of Famers and won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence at second base in 1968.
“After his playing days concluded, Glenn was a familiar sight at Wrigley Field and numerous Cubs Conventions, and he always had a memory to share of his time on-and-off the field with his beloved teammates. We offer our deepest condolences to Glenn’s daughters, Tracy Seaman and Dana Starck, his longtime partner Marybruce Standley and his many, many friends.”