CHICAGO – Glenn Beckert, a four-time All-Star second baseman for the Chicago Cubs in the 1960s and '70s, died Sunday. He was 79.
Citing his family, the Cubs said he died of natural causes in Florida.
Playing alongside Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ferguson Jenkins, Beckert won a Gold Glove in 1968 and made four straight All-Star teams for Chicago starting in 1969.
“We lost a great one today, Glenn Beckert,” Jenkins tweeted. “Glenn was My friend, my @Cubs teammate, and the best man at my wedding. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Beckert family.”
Beckert batted .283 in 11 seasons with Chicago (1965-73) and the San Diego Padres (1974-75). He led the National League five times in strikeout-to-at-bat ratio and finished third in batting in 1971 at a career-best .342.
“Glenn Beckert was a wonderful person who also happened to be an excellent ballplayer,” the Cubs said in a statement. “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.”
After playing shortstop in the minors, Beckert moved to second base with the Cubs for the 1965 season. The position was open after Ken Hubbs' 1964 death. Beckert then teamed with shortstop Don Kessinger for his entire nine-year Cubs career to form one of the best double-play combinations in baseball.
Beckert was traded to San Diego after the 1973 season.
Beckert starred in baseball, basketball and football at Perry High School in Pittsburgh, making All-City teams in baseball ad basketball. He went on to Allegheny College, earning a political science degree in 1962. He signed with Boston that year and went to Chicago in the first-year minor league draft.
He is survived by daughters Tracy Seaman and Dana Starck and longtime partner Marybruce Standley.