Leonardo Lazaro (Alfonso) Cardenas was born in Matanzas, Cuba on this day in 1938. He made it to the majors in 1960 where he got the nickname of “Chico” and “Mr. Automatic” because he was so good at playing shortstop.
Cardenas was a 5-time All Star. He played 9 years with the Cincinnati Reds and 3 with the Minnesota Twins. He replaced fellow Cuban Zoilo Versalles as the shortstop for the Twins. Overall, he hit .257 over 16 seasons. Along the way, he hit 20 HR & 81 RBI’s in 1966 and 18 HR & 75 RBI’s in 1970. Back then, those were huge power numbers for a shortstop.
Cardenas played in the 1961 World Series with the Reds and in the 1969 & 1970 ALCS with the Twins. He is best remembered as the man who made everything look easy at shortstop.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).