Cardenas was one of baseball's best shortstops during the 1960s. The son of Rafael
Cardenas, himself an outstanding pro shortstop in Cuba, Leo became known as "Mr.
Automatic" for his fancy fielding. As a Cincinnati regular (1962-68), he won a Gold
Glove in 1965 and topped NL shortstops twice each in fielding and putouts and once
in double plays. He hit 20 homers in 1966, a Reds record for shortstops. Traded to
Minnesota for pitcher Jim Merritt
in November 1968, Cardenas helped the Twins win
a divisional championship in 1969, batting .280 and leading AL shortstops in assists,
double plays, and putouts. His 570 putouts that year tied a 63-year-old league record.
He led the AL in fielding again in 1971.