The Cubs' regular second baseman for nine years, Beckert was a reliable contact hitter
who hit second in the batting order for most of his career. He was the most difficult
batter to strike out in the NL five times (in 1968 he whiffed only 20 times in 643
at-bats), and he walked only slightly more often, but nonetheless led the NL in runs
scored with 98 in '68. Although never considered a power hitter, he had 20 or more
doubles in six seasons.
Beckert was a minor league shortstop, but switched to second
base after Ken Hubbs died. He won the Cubs' second-base job in 1965 and adjusted
quickly to his new position, leading the NL in assists while finishing second in
double plays and total chances per game. For his entire Cub career, he played alongside
shortstop Don Kessinger (who often led off in front of Beckert), giving the Cubs
an outstanding defensive keystone combo. Throughout Beckert's career, he was overshadowed
by two of the greatest second basemen in baseball history. When he first came up,
Bill Mazeroski was regularly leading the league in most defensive categories; after
Maz faded, Joe Morgan grabbed the second-base spotlight. Beckert was second in the
NL in assists from 1966 to 1969, and in 1971 he won a Gold Glove. He received his
nickname, Bruno (after the wrestler Bruno Sammartino), from teammate Paul Popovich
in the minor leagues, because Beckert frequently knocked down other infielders in
pursuit of pop-ups.
Although he hit only .239 as a rookie, Beckert quickly improved
and went on to hit .280 or better the next six seasons, peaking at .342 in 1971.
On June 3, 1971, he drove in Ken Holtzman with the only run of the game in Holtzman's
against the Reds.
After his skills were eroded by knee and heel injuries
over the next two seasons, Beckert was traded to the Padres for outfielder Jerry
Morales. In San Diego, Beckert was a part-time infielder and pinch hitter limited
again by ankle and finger injuries.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 20, 1967: At Wrigley, the Cubs pound Brooklyn, 203 to give Ken Holtzman (50) a win before he leaves tomorrow for a 6-month tour of duty in the Army. The hitting stars are Adolpho Phillips with 6 RBI, Randy Hundley with a grand slam, and Glenn Beckert with a double and an inside-the-park HR. Rounding out the scoring is Ted Savage's steal of home. In the Dodger dugout in 7th inning, Don Drysdale waves a white handkerchief of surrender. Holtzman will pitch on weekend passes and tack on another 4 wins without a loss.
»July 26, 1970: Johnny Bench of the Reds and Orlando Cepeda of the Braves each collect three consecutive homers and seven RBIs during respective games with the Cardinals and Cubs. Bench hits all three off Steve Carlton and adds a single in the Reds 125 win over the Cards. Bench now has 33 homers and 95 RBIs to lead the majors. Cepeda collects his seven RBIs in the Braves 83 win over the Cubs in game 1. His first two are solo shots, and the 3rd follows an intentional walk to Aaron to load the bases. His last RBI comes on a single in the 9th. In the nitecap of the twinbill, Cepeda has three hits but the Cubs win, 76. Glenn Beckert, 2-for-3 in the opener, raps five straight hits in game two to lead Chicago.
»September 16, 1972:
At Wrigley, Glenn Beckert sets a dubious major-league record by stranding 12 base runners but his Cubs beat the Mets, 185. The Cubs jump first, knocking out Tom Seaver in just two 1/3 innings. After Seaver loads the bases on walks in the 3rd, pitcher Burt Hooton homers. Chicago garners 15 walks, with Elrod Hendricks walking five straight times, a National League record. Cubs 2B Glenn Beckert sets a dubious major-league record when he strands 12 baserunners.
»May 19, 1973: Philadelphia's Ken Brett holds Chicago's Glenn Beckert hitless in the first game, a 30 win, of a doubleheader, ending his 26-game hitting streak. Chicago takes the nitecap, 76.