- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3½", Weight 225 lb.
Afro-Cuban outfielder Santos Amaro was the progenitor of a three-generation baseball family. His Mexican-born son Ruben Amaro Sr. and grandson Ruben Amaro Jr. both played in the major leagues. Another grandson, David Amaro, played briefly in the minors and in Mexico.
According to author Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria's book The Pride of Havana, "because of his size and ability to leap he came to be known as El Canguro (The Kangaroo)...Amaro could do it all, particularly hit." He also had a superior throwing arm. In addition, this book notes that Amaro "could not tolerate the racial discrimination in the United States, so he did not play in the Negro Leagues...in the Cuban League he hit over .300 three times in the thirties, and he had several outstanding seasons with Almendares in the early to middle forties."
He did not make his debut in the Mexican League until 1939, when he was 31 years old, but he would play 17 seasons in Mexico. He would also marry a Mexican woman, Josefina Mora. In his first season, he hit .316/~.371/.434 for the Veracruz Eagle and batted .345/~.387/.552 in limited action the next year for the Veracruz Blues.
Amaro then joined the Tampico Lightermen, where he played from 1941 through 1947 and part of 1948 (which he split with the Blues). Amaro hit .332/~.416/.443 in '41 (his 95 RBI were second to Josh Gibson), .347/~.426/.478 (with a league-high 12 triples) in '42, .328/~.397/.455 in '43, .320/~.396/.428 in '44 and .330/~.437/.420 in '45. At age 38 in 1946 and facing imported major-league and Negro League pitchers, Amaro slipped to .275/~.388/.345 but still outhit a fair number of the major leaguers playing in Mexico that year. Santos hit .341/~.420/.420, losing the batting title to a much younger Bobby Avila by only 5 points.
In his 40s, Amaro's production declined, but he still topped .300 twice and had an OBP around .460 in 1950 for the Eagle. He was with the Eagle from 1949-1955 and became a player-manager in 1951. He led the team to Mexican League titles as a manager in 1952 and 1961, 6 years after his last active playing duty.
While the Cuban-born Santos starred in Mexico, Ruben Sr. spent almost his entire career during the summers in the USA, though he had extensive winter experience in his native land. On June 24, 1977 Santos Amaro was elected to the Salon de la Fama. When Ruben Sr. was voted in nine years later, they became the first father-son combination to be both inducted in the Salon.
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