New Jersey Jackals Sign Santiago Chirino to Contract Extension
January 7, 2020 - Canadian American League (Can-Am) News Release
Little Falls, NJ - The Hit King has returned. The 2019 Can-Am League Champion New Jersey Jackals announce signing infielder Santiago Chirino to a contract extension. Along with being a key contributor to the Jackals' 2019 championship run, the Can-Am League's merging with the Frontier League brings Chirino back to the circuit where he owns the all-time hits record with 726. This signing also marks the seventh year that the 28-year old Punto Fijo Venezuela native has played for New Jersey Jackals manager Brooks Carey. Six of those years came when he played for Carey when he managed the Normal CornBelters from 2013-2018.
"This is the seventh year I've had the opportunity to sign Chi-Chi and every year I'm more excited than the year before," Carey said. "He's a great example of how a professional should act and go about the business of being ready to play every day. He's a leader on and off the field and I'm sure the Frontier League will be thrilled to have their Hit King back."
A solid defender and contact hitter, last year Chirino was one of the Jackals' steadiest players. Along with posting a robust slash line of .308/.355/.366, the right-handed hitting infielder logged a 13-game hitting streak that tied for fourth in the Can-Am League. During this sizzling stretch spanning from July 1-17, Chirino hit .345 (19-55) with two doubles, nine runs and seven RBIs. In the field, he led shortstops in games played (66), total chances (252) and putouts (101). Chirino's consistent play was on display during the Can-Am League Playoffs when he hit an overall .289 (11-38) with one double and four runs scored and RBIs apiece against the Rockland Boulders and defending 2018 Champion Sussex County Miners.
Chirino has authored a legendary career in the Frontier League. Along with being the circuit's all-time hits leader, he is a four-time All-Star (2015-2018) and captured back-to-back batting titles. In 2017 he swatted 141 hits which ranks second in league history while batting .357 (141-395) with 26 doubles, four triples, three homers and 60 runs scored and 60 RBIs. Chirino topped his performance by hitting .367 in 2018 (137-373) with 68 runs scored, 25 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 59 RBIs. In addition to capturing his second straight batting title, he broke the league's all-time hits record on June 24 against the Gateway Grizzlies with his wife and host family in attendance. In his first at-bat, he lined a single to left-center to tie former Washington Wild Thing Chris Sidick. After walking in his next two at-bats, Chirino laced a single to right field in the sixth inning to earn the record which was 635 hits at the time.
The Texas Rangers signed Chirino as an international free agent on July 2, 2008 and spent five years in the organization's farm system. His best season came in 2011 with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Single-A Carolina League where he slashed .263/.339/304 while setting single-season highs in games played (115), runs scored (54), hits (111), total bases (143), doubles (18), home runs (4) and RBIs (41). He was released by the Rangers on March 24, 2013 and was signed in April by the CornBelters.
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