The Hype of Kris Benson

I read yesterday that Kris Benson was indeed retiring from baseball. I was shocked when I read that. He was still pitching?

That would be like hearing “Katrina and the Waves broke up.” Yeah, I figured they did.

Actually Benson did pitch for a few games in 2009 and 2010. He pitched 36 1/3 innings in the majors since 2006. And he hung them up today.

He made tens of millions of dollars along the way, and never even approached being an elite pitcher.

The man whose first name started with a K because he parents wanted a pitcher was a stud in high school and was called “The Messiah” in Clemson University. He had all the makings of being the next big star pitcher.

The Pirates used the #1 pick overall in 1996 on him. The #1 pick is supposed to be a potential superstar or at least a steady veteran.

Now to be fair to the Pirates, that first round didn’t exactly produce a bumper crop of future Hall of Famers. It had Billy Koch and Eric Milton and Braden Looper and Jason Marquis among others. But it wasn’t like they passed up on Ken Griffey Jr to draft him.

Then again Roy Oswalt was still available in the 22nd round, so maybe they should have done a better job scouting.

His minor league numbers were mediocre, but his status as a prospect was always hyped.

He came up to the bigs in 1999 and won his big league debut. He played for a truly rotten Pirates team (redundant after 1992) but he pitched well. Not great. But well. Good ERA. Most strikeouts by a Pittsburgh right hander in 2000. Again he wasn’t a bad pitcher. He was just overhyped.

When he missed the 2001 season after surgery he came back and pitched well. Not great, but well.

When he was dealt to the Mets, it was thought they were getting a budding ace who just needed to get out of Pittsburgh.

He pitched OK in New York. Not great. Not badly. None of his numbers were eye popping. He’d go on a good streak than a bad streak.

It was classic Jim Duquette deal… one that was supposed to spark the team and instead kept the Mets mediocre.

Later with the Orioles he pitched OK, but not great, in 2006.

Even his wife was overhyped. I kept hearing about how unbelievably hot she was. I saw her.

She was OK… not great… and certainly not worth the hype nor how annoying she was in interviews.

And now, after cameos in Texas and Arizona, a hyped career is over.

Kris Benson’s career was baseball equivalent to the movie Dick Tracy.

Lots of hype… lots of built up expectations… lots of behind the scene friction between the star and the potentially crazy leading lady… and when it was all over I thought “That’s it?”

It wasn’t bad and there was talent there… but there was a lot of talent behind Dick Tracy as well and not a lot of memorable moments.

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Fare thee well, Trevor Hoffman

I admit that I’ve been rough on Trevor Hoffman on this blog.
I don’t think he is a Hall of Famer.
I don’t think he was one of the elite closers.
I think he was a fine pitcher who compiled saves when it was easy to do so and blew way too many big games to be in Cooperstown in my book.

Yes, he is the All Time Saves leader.

Lee Smith was as well. Is he a Hall of Famer?
Jeff Reardon was as well. Is he a Hall of Famer? (And Reardon had the “clinching the World Series moment” that neither Smith nor Hoffman had.)

By the time Hoffman’s name reaches the ballot, Mariano Rivera, a legit Hall of Famer, will have the 42 saves needed to be the new All Time Saves leader.

All that being said, he had a terrific career and it seems like nobody had a bad thing to say about him.

And I feel an odd connection as a fan because his older brother, Glenn Hoffman, was on many of the Red Sox teams I grew up watching.

So good luck Trevor Hoffman. Your career was one worth saluting, especially when you consider how quickly relievers flame out.

And if you get elected to the Hall of Fame, I won’t protest. I can’t imagine how someone could get MAD if a player they don’t agree with gets elected.

I promise in five years, if this blog is still up, I will have toned down my rhetoric.

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