Larry Benton

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Lawrence James Benton

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Biographical Information[edit]

Right-hander Larry Benton started in pro baseball with the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia League in 1920 and went 13-10 while pitching 205 innings. He was with the same squad again in 1921, going 18-18 in 297 innings. In his third year, he was with the Memphis Chickasaws of the Southern Association where he pitched over 200 innings again, with 216, while going 15-13 with a 3.29 ERA. Benton would not be back in the minors until 1936, spending the next 13 straight seasons in the majors.

Benton was acquired by the Boston Braves from the New York Giants on July 30, 1922, and began his major league run with the Beantowners beginning in the 1923 season. Larry struggled his first two seasons, but in 1925 he pulled it together going 14-7 with a 3.09 ERA for the fifth-place Braves. He went 14-14 while pitching 231 innings in 1926. Larry had been with the Braves for almost five and one-half seasons and had a 4-2 record by June 12, 1927, when he was traded, along with Zack Taylor and Herb Thomas, back to the Giants for Doc Farrell, Kent Greenfield and Hugh McQuillan. The trade did not seem to bother Larry at all, going 13-5 for the Giants and finished the split season with a 17-7 record; his .708 winning percentage led the league and he pitched 233 innings. The Giants, however, finished in third place, one half game behind the second place Cardinals and two behind the pennant-winning Pirates. Benton came back in 1928 with a career year, going 25-9 and leading the 1928 NL in wins, winning percentage (.735) and complete games (28). But John McGraw's Giants finished second, two games behind the Cardinals.

Benton made a full turnaround in 1929, going 11-17 with a 4.14 ERA as the Giants fell to third place, 13.5 games off the pace. 1930 was a dark year as he started off 1-3. On May 21, 1930, the Giants dealt him to the Cincinnati Reds for Hughie Critz. Benton would only go 7-12 with a 5.12 ERA for the seventh-place Reds and that made him 8-15 for the year with a 5.50 ERA. Larry would pitch for five more seasons in the majors, four for the Reds, 1931 through 1934, and finished his big league time with the 1935 Braves. In his last five years, he would not reach the .500 mark again. His 13-year major league career showed a 127-128 record with a 4.03 ERA while pitching 2,297 innings. As things go, Benton was not ready to quit just yet and the 38-year-old gave it one more try back in the minors with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. Benton appeared in six games, went 1-1 and called it a career. After baseball, he moved to Amberley, OH, where he died on April 3, 1953 at 55.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Wins Leader (1928)
  • 2-time NL Winning Percentage Leader (1927 & 1928)
  • NL Complete Games Leader: 1 (1928)
  • NL 15 Win Seasons: 1 (1928)
  • NL 20 Win Seasons: 1 (1928)
  • NL 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1926-1931)
  • NL 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1928)

Related Sites[edit]