Our first notice of Rafael Santana came back when we were playing the old original NES RBI Baseball game.
With all the engineers that today’s modern video games use to separate differences in abilities of ballplayers, you know pretty quickly after playing a game who is decent and who is crud.
But back then, Rafael was light-hitting enough that even without all the bells and whistles and statistical input by video game developers, after a few games of RBI Baseball, you knew that Santana was absolutely hideous beyond reasonable doubt.
Every other player on that Mets team could absolutely mash. Even Wally Backman was good for some doubles and such. But when you got down to late in the order to the 8-hole where Santana hit on that game (rightfully so), it was time for your little block players to get their gloves ready because the pitcher (automatic out on RBI Baseball) was looming on deck.
For his career, Santana hit .246 with 13 home runs and 156 RBI. This was accumulated over 668 career games and 2183 at bats in futility.
He stole only 3 bases in 10 attempts, so you can’t say he was a guy who added that dimension for you. He struck out 234 times and walked only 138. His career OPS suffered to a .295 clip as he only got credit for 497 base hits in 7 seasons that he received far too much playing time.
In the 1986 postseason he hit .216, with no extra base hits. Somehow, he probably felt lucky to even hit that against the best in the World that fall.
The guy was your garden variety zero hitting middle infielder. Career fielding percentage was .969, so he was far from a Gold Glove defender.
If you ever get the chance to play a copy of the original RBI Baseball and you choose the Mets to go to battle with, do yourself a favor and pinch hit Howard Johnson for his ass and save yourself an out. Ron Darling brought more to the table with a stick in his hands then Raffy did.