Left Behind No. 17: Bruce Benedict

Bruce Benedict.jpgRighthanded Hitting, Righthanded Throwing C
Seasons with Braves: 1978-89
Career Stats with Braves: .242/.320/.299, 18 HR, 260 RBI, 214 RS

Eggs, a fine defensive catcher with a banjo bat, makes the Left Behind Squad on his glove. I think Bruce is slightly underestimated as a batter and greatly underappreciated as a receiver. He made the All-star Team twice, in 1981 and 1983; in the latter year, he hit .298/.385/.348. His offensive stats were diminished by hitting in the eight spot his entire career virtually. He had a good command of the strike zone, as suggested by the fact his OBP is 80 points over his BA, and took more than a fair share of walks.

But his defensive play was steady. He caught 982 games for the Braves. In 1982 he led the league in FP. He had fewer errors a game than either Bench or Carter. His .990 career FP is almost identical to those two’s. The most interesting stat I find for Benedict is assists per game: .591. Ivan Rodriguez is only .511. Carter’s is .585. Rick Dempsey is only .471. His caught stealings don’t compare to those guys, but that’s 1) due to him catching Niekro for years (which in and of itself merits inclusion) and 2) he just didn’t have the rocket arm of those guys.

Can he make the 44? Eh. Not really, though he certainly served us faithfully for years. Unlike, say, Clete Boyer, his defense was very good, but not truly Hall of Fame, and his utter lack of power hurts him. His OBP is higher than his SLG. Sorry, Eggs.

Bruce Benedict Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

13 thoughts on “Left Behind No. 17: Bruce Benedict”

  1. I really liked Benedict for the same reason I liked Rafael Ramirez. He brought stability to a position that had been unstable for quite a while. Before Bruce, the Braves had to endure the likes of sluggers like Paul Casanova, Johnny Oates, Biff Pocoroba and Vic Correll. I have a feeling that none of those guys will make the left behind list. His all-star campaigns of 81 and 83 were pretty darn good. If he would have put together 1 more strong year, I think it would have been very hard to leave him off the list of 44.

    Btw, Benedict is now an SEC basketball official.

  2. I always like Bruce Benedict. He was one of the guys that was always there when I was a kid, and there weren’t a lot of those guys back then. :)

  3. Welcome aboard, Tek.

    I didn’t write my usual additional comments, because Bledsoe about covered it. Benedict was a favorite of mine, from my hometown and a player I actually thought of at the time (I was ten or so) as more important and better than he actually was. He was a good backup type stretched to be a regular.

  4. We were thin at the dish, and bruce got the short straw day in and day out. They were grooming Larry Owen a bunch and Matt Sinatro and of course it was Dale’s position to lose ( he did).
    I dont have the proof at my fingetr tips or researched, But Bruce in his day ironically was in the top 10 for salarie for at least 2 years int he bigs. And of course the top 2 to 3 of catchers for at least a 4 to 6 year period. Ted loved Bruce, they were long time friends from what I remember, and another reason why a player like him stuck with the braves so long as a full timer.
    Interesting though when he became a coach in the minor system it was with the mets as a long time coach with them. Meanwhile he was a brave lifer when he actually played with us.
    Bruce would have trouble cracking my top 44 catchers for the Braves.
    I am looking forward to seeing MAC slaute to Maddux catchers over the years, Perez,Bako,O’Brien,Blanco,Torrealba,Lunar,matsos, Fabregas,Myers,Spher,Houston, Ayrault, etc etc etc

  5. And thanks for the welcome, Mac. I really love this 44 best retrospective (as well as the ones who didn’t make the cut). It has been fun going through and finding the players that were meaningful to me as a youth.

  6. In fairness, a lot of those guys were Cox/Schuerholz third catchers, rather than Maddux caddies. (Torrealba, Lunar, Matos, Fabregas, Spehr, Ayrault)

    I think Tyler Houston was with the Braves because he was out of options, so he made the 1997 team out of spring training, and then was designated for assignment when they needed a roster spot for someone else.

  7. Another Brave from that early ’80s era who will always resonante with longtime fans.

    I think Bruce Benedict hit about 20 HRs in his entire career, but I do recall a game in 1982 or 1983 vs. SF where he hit 2 HRs. I’ll always remember Skip Caray’s endearingly sarcastic gamenote: “Braves lead the Giants 4-1, thanks to…(typical Skip pause)…’Babe’ Benedict.”

  8. He’s currently a ref in the ACC for basketball. I see him at NC State games pretty regularly.

    Didn’t he have something like a 30-game hitting streak at the end of 1983?

  9. I had the privilege of sitting next to Bruce Benedict at a dinner party several years ago. He’s a very personable, classy fellow–and he told some great Phil Niekro stories!

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