A fine second baseman during the 1960s and early 1970s, Glenn Beckert was an expert at controlling his bat. One of the most difficult strikeout victims of his time, the Cubs second baseman led the NL five times in smallest strikeout-per-at-bat ratio. Although he was gifted at making contact, Beckert’s defensive play had room for improvement. He led the league four times in errors, but he was larger than your typical second baseman and thus covered more ground that the average middle infielder.
Beckert was called up by the Cubs in 1965 and play everyday as the regular second baseman. As a freshman, the tall second sacker scored 73 runs and turned 101 double plays. He fanned 52 times as a rookie but would never again whiff 40 times in another season. Glenn came into his own in 1966 when he finished second to superstar Pete Rose in base hits among Major League second basemen with 188. He also set career highs in triples, RBI and stolen bases, as he expertly avoided the dreaded Sophomore Jinx.
Just as good in 1967, Beckert led NL second basemen in runs scored and was the only 2B in the Major Leagues to eclipse 30 doubles. But his finest hour was right around the corner. In 1968, Beckert won his only Gold Glove, led the National League in runs scored, finished in the Top Ten in MVP voting and paced Major League second basemen in batting average and base hits. Despite all those accolades, Glenn didn’t make his first All-Star appearance until the following year.
Beginning in 1969, Glenn made four straight All-Star squads with the Chicago Cubs. Although his run production was down significantly in ’69, he was the only second baseman in the senior circuit to hit over .290. But his run production spiked in 1970 when he scored a career high 99 runs. With shortstop Don Kessinger, the 1970 Cubs boasted the Major League’s top run-scoring middle infield, as the duo combined for 199 tramples of home plate.
At his best with the bat in 1971, Beckert set career highs in batting average, slugging average and on-base percentage. He was the only second baseman in the National League to hit over .300–Glenn’s batting average was of the Speakeresque mark of .342.
Beckert was named to his final All-Star team in 1972. After that season, the injuries set in. Glenn was limited to just over 100 games in 1973 and since his batting average had fallen to .255–the worst it had been since his rookie campaign–the Cubs traded him after the season to the Padres for Jerry Morales. The Friars didn’t get much as Glenn spent two injury-plagued seasons in Southern California before calling it a career.
G 1,320/R 685/H 1,473/2B 196/3B 31/HR 22/RBI 360/SB 49/BB 260/SO 243/BA .283/SA .345/OBP .318