Kris Benson

Kristin James Benson[1] (born November 7, 1974) is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher.

A highly touted prospect, Benson was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1996. He followed a strong rookie season in 1999 with an even stronger season in 2000, but those would prove to be the two best seasons of his career, as he underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2000 season. He posted three more good seasons from 2004 to 2006 with the Pirates, the New York Mets, and the Baltimore Orioles, but then underwent rotator cuff surgery, after which he was never again an effective Major League pitcher.

Benson is also known for his marriage to Anna Benson.

Kris Benson
IMG 1934a Kris Benson
Benson pitching for the Orioles in 2006
Born: November 7, 1974 (age 44)
Superior, Wisconsin
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1999, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
April 28, 2010, for the Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB statistics
Win–loss record70–75
Earned run average4.42
Career highlights and awards
Kris Benson
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Atlanta Team

High school

Benson was born in Superior, Wisconsin. His parents were baseball fans who chose names for each of their children that began names with "K," a nod to the letter used as the scorecard designation for a strikeout.[1] Benson attended Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia with future MLB All-Star Marlon Byrd.


Benson attended Clemson University from 1993 to 1996. His teammates included fellow future major-leaguers Billy Koch and Matthew LeCroy both of whom played with him in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. (Koch reported teammates referred to Benson as "The Messiah".)[2] Benson went undefeated during the regular season of his junior year (14–0 with a 1.40 ERA) with 178 strikeouts in 142 innings pitched.[3]

Following this strong regular season, Benson led the Tigers to the NCAA postseason. Though he pitched only one game in the Atlantic regional playoffs, the Tigers' ace earned all-tournament recognition with an outing in which he allowed only one hit, struck out eight, and walked but one batter.[4] The victorious Tigers, starring Benson, Koch, outfielder and Regional MVP Jerome Robinson, and all-tournament outfielder Gary Burnham, entered the 1996 College World Series on a three-year streak of number-one regional seeds.[4] The presence of Benson, the expected number one selection in the 1996 MLB amateur draft[3] (held that year on the same week as the CWS) helped draw additional attention to the spring series, transforming it into what one then-Clemson sports information official remembered as the "Media World Series."[5] (Benson was, in fact, drafted by the Pirates during the team's trip to Omaha.[6]) Despite his stellar regular season, Benson subsequently dropped two postseason decisions as the Tigers stumbled to a 2-2 CWS record. Nonetheless, the team's two victories ended an eight-game CWS losing streak for Clemson and included a win over top-ranked Alabama.[7]

Subsequently, Benson was named College Baseball's Player of the Year, only the second (after fellow future major leaguer and Olympian Ben McDonald) to be so honored on the strength of his pitching alone.[3] As a Tiger, he won the Baseball America Player of the Year, and ACC Player of the Year. The pitcher also became only the second baseball player and first Clemson athlete in any sport to be named the ACC Male Athlete of the Year.[8] Other awards for his collegiate career include the Rotary Smith Award and ABCA Player of the Year, and recognition as unanimous consensus first-team All-American.[2] He was also the recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy for his "performance, character, leadership, and courage".[9] He has also been inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2005 and the South Carolina Amateur Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was named to the ACC's 50-Year Anniversary baseball team.[8] A marketing student, Benson left Clemson prior to receiving his degree.[10]


In the 1996 Olympics, Benson had 17 strikeouts in as many innings and a 2–1 record, but with a 5.82 ERA.[2] Benson beat Nicaragua to open up the games and then Japan, but it was his single loss (11–2 to eventual silver medalist Japan) which proved costly. Benson lasted only four innings and surrendered five runs, and the bullpen gave up another six, en route to an 11–2 bludgeoning that kept the Americans from advancing to the gold medal game.[11] (Ultimately, the U.S. settled for a bronze medal in the sport it had invented, though this represented an improvement over the squad's failure to medal in 1992.) Altogether, Benson, in the unusual position of competing in his home state of Georgia yet on a world stage, "was one of the staff's less effective arms".[2]

Professional baseball

Benson was the first pick of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft.[12] After being signed for what was a then-record signing bonus,[10] he spent two years in the minor leagues with the Lynchburg Hillcats and Carolina Mudcats in 1997, and the Nashville Sounds in 1998. Benson made his first major league start on April 9, 1999. He became just the second number one overall pick to win his big league debut. His first strikeout was Sammy Sosa. Benson came in fourth place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He came up just shy of breaking the record for most strikeouts in team history by a rookie hurler. His best season came in 2000 with Pittsburgh when he posted career-highs in earned run average, strikeouts, innings pitched, and games pitched as well as his only double-digit strikeout games and his career-best three-hit complete game despite the fact that he is a groundball pitcher. That year, Benson broke the record for most strikeouts in Pirates history for a right-handed pitcher. After 2000, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2001 season. He started the last game at Three Rivers Stadium and the first game ever at Great American Ballpark. Against the Mets, he broke the record for most sacrifice bunts in a game by a pitcher in MLB history with four.

The New York Mets acquired him near the trading deadline of the 2004 season. During that period, Benson put together a string of 70 consecutive innings without surrendering a home run. He was awarded the Mets Best Pitcher during the month of September that year with a 0.76 ERA. He beat Randy Johnson twice in the interleague Subway Series, throwing 12 innings of shutout baseball against the Yankees.

On January 21, 2006, Benson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine. Some speculated that the pitcher had been ushered out of town partly as an excuse for the Mets to part ways with his wife, outspoken model Anna Benson, who had "perturbed team officials with her risqué wardrobe and provocative comments."[13][14] Kris Benson also felt that the Mets had traded him because of his wife,[15] a position disputed by Mets management.[16] The newly minted Oriole beat the Mets that season in interleague play. During the game, he hit his first professional home run off All-Star and Cy Young Award-winner Pedro Martínez.

Benson missed the entire 2007 season with a torn rotator cuff.[17] Steve Trachsel replaced Benson in their starting rotation before being traded to the Chicago Cubs for minor league players. On November 1, 2007, the Orioles declined to pick up his $7.5 million option and instead paid a $500,000 buyout.

On February 13, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Benson to a minor league deal.[18] On June 29, 2008, after two years away from competitive baseball, Benson made his Triple-A debut for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, throwing 73 pitches.[19] He played 11 games for the IronPigs, but was 1–4 with a 5.52 ERA. However, after two rough initial outings, he went 1–2 with a 3.80 ERA over his remaining 9 starts. He was released on August 30, 2008.

On February 21, 2009, Benson signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Texas Rangers.[20] Benson made the Opening Day 25 man roster as one of the Rangers' starting pitchers, but after a short stint on the disabled list, he was relegated to the bullpen in long relief. Benson had made over 200 consecutive starts before the move to the bullpen. After proving ineffective as a sporadic reliever upon his return, he was outrighted to the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, on June 9, 2009.[21]

On March 15, 2010, Benson signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.[22] On April 15, it was announced that Benson would be the fifth starter for Arizona. He had two effective starts when he first got called up, but injured his shoulder again during his third start against the Colorado Rockies. He also pitched for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate in Reno, Nevada, the Reno Aces.

Benson retired on Jan 10th, 2011.[23] He finished his 10-year career with a 70–75 record in 200 starts (206 appearances) and 61 no-decisions.

Personal life

Benson lived in Superior, WI until age 6, before he moved with his family to Milledgeville, GA. In 1988, Benson then moved to Kennesaw, GA. He has two younger sisters and one younger brother. In 1998, while playing for the Nashville Sounds in the minor leagues, he met his future wife, Anna Benson while she was working as a dancer in a local strip club.[24] The Bensons were married in October 1999 (her second marriage, his first), the same year he reached the major leagues. The pitcher and model became a well-known baseball couple during Benson's time in the major leagues. After Anna reported that the couple had had sex in the parking lot of Three Rivers Stadium, an experience they wished to replicate at every major league park, concern developed within the Pirates organization that the "wild-eyed brunette was getting in the way of her husband's fastball...."[24] Her husband dismissed the Pirates treatment of his wife as "a lot of jealousy and a lot of pettiness...."'[24] Anna filed for divorce on March 31, 2006, citing an "irretrievably broken" marriage.,[25] but later withdrew the petition.[13] They have had three children together (daughter Haylee, and sons P.J. and Devin James) and are also parenting Anna Benson's daughter from her first marriage (Alyssa Warren). In 2012, Kris served Anna with divorce papers. Benson is now engaged to Brittany Page, daughter of retired professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.[26]

Benson, who earned over $38,000,000 during his playing career,[27] has supported several charities since beginning his professional career. (In an interview on The Howard Stern Show Anna Benson explained that at least one of her husband's contracts had been structured with charitable contributions so that this income could not be taxed.[28]) In 2001, after 9/11, the couple founded the non-profit organization Benson's Battalion, whose work then-Rep. Melissa Hart praised in a citation to the Congressional Record in 2004. The Battalion raised funds for emergency services in the wake of 9/11. They also made considerable contributions to the Red Cross and United Way for 9/11 relief. In 2005, Benson assisted in a new charity, while with the New York Mets, called Tuesday's Children. The charity helped children who lost a parent during the Twin Tower collapses.[29] In recognition of various community service and charity efforts, Benson has been honored with the Pittsburgh Pirates team Roberto Clemente Award, the Thurman Munson Award, the Joan Payson Award, and the New Jersey Sports Writers Humanitarian of the Year Award.

For years, Benson and his wife Anna were leaders for St. Barnabas and their annual Presents For Patients drive. While in Baltimore, Kris and Benson's Battalion, were recognized by the Baltimore Police Department. There are many more charitable causes that have been impacted by Benson and his family over the years, including a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Army Forces Central Command in Saudi Arabia. Overall, during his career, he and his family have donated roughly three quarters of a million dollars to various charitable causes.

The son of a school teacher and college dean,[24] Benson has been described as studious and methodical in his approach to pitching,[30] personally reserved,[24] and, in comparison to his wife, strait-laced and stoic.[31]

Benson currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. ^ a b Ross, Lillian. (2009-01-07) The Home Team: Thy Pitcher’s Wife. The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  2. ^ a b c d Kris Benson – BR Bullpen. (2011-01-31). Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  3. ^ a b c Clemson's Benson Named College Player Of Year - Chicago Tribune
  4. ^ a b Clemson University Official Athletic Site - Baseball
  5. ^ Kris Benson And Billy Koch Were The Media's Center Of Attention In 1996 CWS - The Official Athletic Site of the Atlantic Coast Conference
  6. ^ 1996 College World Series Memories - CLEMSON UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE
  7. ^ Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Player Bio: Kris Benson - Clemson University Official Athletic Site
  9. ^ NCBWA > Awards > Dick Howser Trophy. Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  10. ^ a b Pirates Give Benson Hefty Signing Bonus - New York Times
  11. ^ Official Olympic Report, 1996 Atlanta (Vol. 3): pp. 116–125.
  12. ^ "Kris Benson". Baseball-Reference.Com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Anna Benson Calls Off the Divorce - New York Times
  14. ^ A Wife Trade by Any Other Name - New York Times
  15. ^ Anna Benson drops divorce petition - MLB - ESPN
  16. ^ Benson Sent to Baltimore for 2 Pitchers - New York Times
  17. ^ MLB News, Videos, Scores, Standings, Stats, Teams, Players – FOX Sports on MSN. Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  18. ^ Mandel, Ken (2008-02-13). "Benson agrees to Minor League deal; Veteran right-hander hoping to be ready for Opening Day". Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  19. ^ Topic Galleries. Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  20. ^ Rangers invite Benson to spring training
  21. ^ The Rangers outrighted pitcher Kris Benson to Triple-A Oklahoma
  22. ^ Benson inked to Minor League deal | News. (2010-03-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  23. ^ Former No. 1 overall pick Kris Benson retires | HardballTalk. Retrieved on 2011-03-12.
  24. ^ a b c d e BASEBALL - Opposites Attract Attention -
  25. ^ "Baseball Wife Anna Benson Files for Divorce". Fox News. March 31, 2006.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Kris Benson Statistics and History -
  28. ^ Anna Benson Interview - Wife of New York Met's Pitcher Kris Benson
  29. ^ Anna and the Mets: Benson Excited About N.Y.
  30. ^ Kris Benson Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac
  31. ^ BASEBALL - In Return Engagement, Bensons Steal the Show -

External links

1996 College Baseball All-America Team

An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889.The NCAA recognizes three different All-America selectors for the 1996 college baseball season: the American Baseball Coaches Association (since 1947), Baseball America (since 1981), and Collegiate Baseball (since 1991).

1996 Major League Baseball draft

The 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 4 and 5, 1996. A total of 1740 players were drafted over the course of 100 rounds.

This is the only draft to last 100 rounds. The last player taken was outfielder Aron Amundson, drafted by the New York Yankees in the 100th round.

This draft is also notable because a record four first-round draft picks were not offered contracts by the teams that drafted them and subsequently became free agents.

1997 Major League Baseball draft

The 1997 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 2 and 3, 1997. A total of 1607 players were drafted over the course of 92 rounds.

2004 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 2004 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 123rd season of the franchise; the 118th in the National League. This was their fourth season at PNC Park. The Pirates finished fifth in the National League Central with a record of 72–89.

2005 New York Mets season

The New York Mets' 2005 season was the 44th regular season for the Mets. They went 83-79 and finished 3rd in the NL East. They were managed by Willie Randolph. They played home games at Shea Stadium. The 2005 season is also noteworthy for being Mike Piazza's last season as a Met. In the last game of the season, he was given a long standing ovation from the fans at Shea Stadium.

2006 Baltimore Orioles season

The 2006 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 4th in the American League East with a record of 70 wins and 92 losses.

2006 New York Mets season

The New York Mets' 2006 season was the 45th regular season for the Mets. They went 97-65 and won the NL East, a feat the team would not repeat until 2015. They were managed by Willie Randolph. They played home games at Shea Stadium. They used the marketing slogan of "The Team. The Time. The Mets." throughout the season.

2009 Texas Rangers season

The Texas Rangers 2009 season was the 49th in franchise history and the team's 38th year in Arlington, Texas.

2009 signified the continuation of a strategy implemented by General Manager Jon Daniels in the summer of 2007. The plan to improve the club emphasized the acquisition and development of prospective talent within the Rangers' organization. Several young players such as SS Elvis Andrus, OF Julio Borbon, and pitchers Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter made their big league debuts in 2009 after spending time in the Rangers' minor league system. Ranked as the #1 farm system by Baseball America prior to the start of the season, the organization began the season with several of its heralded prospects still in the minor leagues. Emergence of these prospects on the Major League level gave the franchise and its fan base a brighter hope for the future, in line with the objective of competing for the A.L. West title in 2010 and beyond.

Notable performances from several core players as well as a well-coached pitching staff contributed to a greatly improved record and allowed the Rangers to compete for the division and wild card playoff berths well into the final weeks of the season.

Anna Benson

Anna Benson (born February 12, 1976) is an American model, former stripper, and ex-wife of former Major League Baseball pitcher Kris Benson.

Arizona Diamondbacks all-time roster

This list is complete and up-to-date as of May 10, 2016.The following is a list of players, both past and current, who have played in at least in one game for the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise.

Players in Bold are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemson Tigers baseball

The Clemson Tigers baseball team represents Clemson University in NCAA Division I college baseball. The team participates in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers are currently coached by head coach Monte Lee and play their home games in Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The program has reached the NCAA Tournament in all but one season dating back to 1987. Clemson has made twelve appearances in the College World Series with an all-time record of 12–24 in Omaha.The team has a heated in-state rivalry with the University of South Carolina. Mark Etheridge of has called it "college baseball's most heated rivalry," and Aaron Fitt of Baseball America has called it "far and away the most compelling rivalry college baseball has to offer." As of the end of the 2017 regular season series, Clemson leads the all-time series 176-137-2. Clemson won the 2017 series 2-1 with wins in Greenville, South Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina. The Tigers beat South Carolina 8-7 at Fluor Field and 5-3 in 11 innings at Founders Park.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (also known as Collegiate Baseball Magazine and Collegiate Baseball) is an American publication based in Arizona that considers itself the "voice of amateur baseball" which has been published for over 40 years. It is most noted for handing out the following awards: Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball Coach of the Year, and Collegiate Baseball All-Americans.It is published twice a month from January until June, and then once each in September and October.The "Collegiate Baseball" newspaper poll is college sports' oldest baseball poll. A ranking of the top 30 teams is released prior to the season, weekly throughout the season, and after the conclusion of the College World Series. It started with the 1957 college baseball season.

Dick Howser Trophy

The Dick Howser Trophy is bestowed annually to the national college baseball player of the year. The award is named after former collegiate and Major League Baseball (MLB) player and manager Dick Howser, who died of brain cancer in 1987 at the age of 51. In that same year, the award was established by friends of Howser and presented to Mike Fiore, the inaugural winner.Six winners of the Dick Howser Trophy are members of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Three winners—Kris Benson, David Price, and Stephen Strasburg—went on to become the first overall MLB draft pick. Jason Jennings, Buster Posey, and Kris Bryant went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award several years after winning the Dick Howser Trophy. Jered Weaver is the only award winner to pitch a no-hitter, while Mark Teixeira holds the record for most games with home runs from both sides of the plate. Furthermore, seventeen players won the Golden Spikes Award alongside the Dick Howser Trophy. Brooks Kieschnick is the only player to win the trophy more than once.The winners from 1987 to 1998 were selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) became the voting body in 1999, and now presents the award together with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce in Florida. The most recent recipient of the award is Adley Rutschman of Oregon State University.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks

The Hyannis Harbor Hawks, formerly the Hyannis Mets, are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Hyannis, MA. The team is a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League and plays in the league's Western Division. Hyannis currently plays its home games at McKeon Park, which opened for play in 1979. The team is owned and operated by the non-profit Hyannis Athletic Association and, like other Cape League teams, are funded through merchandise sales, donations, and other fundraising efforts at games such as fifty-fifty raffles.

Hyannis finished the 2007 season in third place in the Western Division with 43 points, falling a single point shy of earning a playoff berth. Hyannis qualified for the playoffs in 2011 after winning the division in the regular season, but were swept in the Division Semi-Finals by the Falmouth Commodores.

The Harbor Hawks finished first place in the Western Division in 2015, only to lose to the Y-D Red Sox in a deciding game 3.

Rotary Smith Award

The Rotary Smith Award was created in 1988 to honor the most outstanding college baseball player of the year. The award was founded by the Greater Houston Sports Association. In 1996, the Rotary Club of Houston joined the award committee. Prior to the 2004 season, the award was succeeded by the Roger Clemens Award, honoring the most outstanding college baseball pitcher.

Sprayberry High School

Sprayberry High School is a public high school located in northeastern Cobb County in Marietta, Georgia, United States, a north-northwestern suburb of metro Atlanta. It is a comprehensive senior high school (grades 9-12) with approximately 1700 students. It opened in 1952 and moved to its current location at 2525 Sandy Plains Road in 1973. Sprayberry is a microcosm of Cobb County in that it serves students from a variety of ethnic groups, socio-economic levels, and academic abilities. Middle schools feeding upcoming students into Sprayberry are McCleskey, Daniell, and Simpson in the Cobb County School District. The school mascot is the yellowjacket.

Travis Hafner

Travis Lee Hafner (; born June 3, 1977) is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a designated hitter and first baseman. A left-handed hitter, Hafner played for the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. His nickname, "Pronk", was given to him by former teammate Bill Selby during spring training of 2001 when people sometimes referred to him as "The Project" and other times "Donkey" for the way he looked when running the bases. He has the most home runs for a player born in North Dakota, and tied the MLB-record for grand slams in one season with 6.

Vickie Guerrero

Vickie Lynn Benson (née Lara, formerly Guerrero; born April 16, 1968) is an American professional wrestling personality and medical administrator. In wrestling, she has appeared as an on-screen authority figure, storyline lover to several WWE wrestlers, occasional professional wrestler in the WWE Divas division, and as a manager for numerous wrestlers. She was best known in her role as General Manager of Smackdown from 2008 to 2011, and of Raw from 2011 to 2013. She has made sporadic appearances since then.

She is known for igniting negative reactions from audiences with her catchphrase, "Excuse me!", and her heel persona. She is the widow of professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero, which has been occasionally incorporated into WWE storylines.

Athlete of the Year
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