Obit_Beckert_Baseball_63320

Former Cubs second baseman Glenn Beckert, left, exchanges greetings with Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry at a Legends of Baseball game in 2007. Beckert, a four-time All-Star second baseman in the 1960s and ’70s, died Sunday at age 79. Joseph Garnett/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File

 

Former Chicago Cubs second baseman Glenn Beckert, a four-time All-Star and member of the 1969 team, died Sunday. He was 79.

Citing his family, the Cubs said he died of natural causes in Florida.

“Glenn Beckert was a wonderful person who also happened to be an excellent ballplayer,” the Cubs said in a statement. “He was a mainstay at second base for the Cubs for nine seasons from 1965-73, earning a spot on four All-Star teams and a reputation for one of the toughest at-bats in the league as evidenced by his low strikeout rate. Glenn more than held his own playing alongside future Hall of Famers and won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence at second base in 1968.

“After his playing days concluded, Glenn was a familiar sight at Wrigley Field and numerous Cubs Conventions, and he always had a memory to share of his time on-and-off the field with his beloved teammates.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Glenn’s daughters, Tracy Seaman and Dana Starck, his longtime partner Marybruce Standley and his many, many friends.”

Beckert played 11 years in the majors, including nine seasons with the Cubs from 1965-73. He finished with a lifetime average of .283, including a career-high .342 average in 1971.

He was part of a lineup that included four Hall of Famers – first baseman Ernie Banks, third baseman Ron Santo, outfielder Billy Williams and pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.

“Beck was the glue that helped meld together four Hall of Famers,” said Ned Colletti, a former Cubs executive and bleacher bum in a text message. “He was the prototypical second hitter followed by three straight Hall of Fame hitters. He rarely struck out. He could move a runner, played the game the right way.

“Now his buddies Ronnie and Ernie have someone to turn a double play.”

Beckert won a Gold Glove award in 1968 and was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972.

“When (Beckert) attended fantasy camps, he was into it,” said Ron Coomer, the Cubs radio analyst and former All-Star. “He loved anything that had to do with the Cubs. He was a stitch. He loved talking to the campers and about the ‘69 Cubs.

“He loved giving (former Cubs catcher) Randy Hundley a hard time. He would tell Randy he could tell him everything about catching. But when it came to hitting, he would tell Randy to leave the room. He had a big personality.”

Renowned as a contact hitter and usually batting second behind shortstop Don Kessinger, Beckert finished first in the league in fewest strikeouts per at-bats five times, from 1966-69 and 1972.

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