Gonzalez spent his best years with the Phillies (mid-1960 through 1968). The Cuban led NL outfielders in fielding average three times, including 1962, when he had no errors in 276 chances. He was the first regular centerfielder ever to field 1.000, and only the third outfielder overall.
In 1967 Gonzalez’s career-high .339 batting average was second in the NL and the majors. He was a reliable hitter for average, drew walks, and at times showed good power. He hit a career-high 20 HR in 1962 and in 1963 his career highs of 36 doubles and 12 triples tied for third and finished second in the NL, respectively.
Gonzalez was taken by the Padres in the expansion draft, but was traded to the Braves in June 1969 and helped them to their division title with a .294 average, 10 HR, and 50 RBI in 89 games for Atlanta. He homered off the Mets’ Tom Seaver in Game One of the LCS but also made the final error of the Braves’ blunder-filled eighth inning. With two out and the bases loaded, he let J.C. Martin’s single get past him in centerfield and three runs scored to put the game out of reach. Gonzalez’s .357 average in the series tied him with Hank Aaron to lead Braves batters, and his four runs scored tied him with Rico Carty. Gonzalez was sold to the Angels in mid-1970, and when he dropped to a career-low .245 average in 1971, it ended his major league career.