Wednesday, March 25, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #16: Mike Benjamin

Mike Benjamin

PHOTO: The photo immediately reminded me of a couple of Giants from the 1988 Topps set that also had entirely green backgrounds: Matt Williams and Jose Uribe. Benjamin was obviously photographed in the same general area of (probably) their spring training facility.

STAT: Guess which pitcher Benjamin faced the most in his career? How about the guy whose card we just saw?

CAREER: 2/10

Benjamin was never a full time player but did stick around for 13 seasons so he must have had something going for him. A couple of oddities about his career: he pitched one inning for the Red Sox in 1997, closing out a game with a scoreless frame. He got his most PAs in a season in 1998 and hit a career-best .272, leading the Red Sox to start him in all 4 of their post-season games as they lost the ALDS to the Indians. Looking at Benjamin's career stats, you'd never think he would have been good enough to be a post-season starter.


  1. If I remember correctly, the reason Benjamin got so much time at second in '98 for the Sox was because Boston had absolutely NO ONE at that position that year. They thought Donnie Sadler was going get some time there but he was a complete zero at the plate. Fast as hell but no offensive ability.

    They also had Lou Merloni (my freshman year high school basketball coach while he was in the minors) who was a much better hitter and was Nomar's favorite double play partner. I remember some controversy about Merloni not making the postseason roster in favor of Sadler and Benjamin.

  2. I remember Benjamin having some streak late in his career where he got a hit or got on base something like 10 consecutive plate appearances. Is my memory faulty?

  3. Nice call Mike. I tracked down the info here:

    It's not that he had a streak of reaching in consecutive PAs, but that he tied the record for most hits over a three game span (14) starting with this game:

  4. Mike Benjamin, it seemed was always pinch running for Aramis Ramirez. Mike was the classic punch and judy, w/a little less punch.