Horace Pope Benton Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Pitcher Red Benton won 113 games over 7 years in the minors and never had a losing season. He only lost 57 games, giving him a winning percentage of almost .667. He also hit .199, helping his own cause somewhat.
After attending the University of North Carolina (where he played football as well as baseball), Benton began his pro career in 1942 with the Wilson Tobs of the Bi-State League, going 15-7 with a 3.77 ERA for the team. He was 6th in the league in wins and made the top 10 in ERA. He missed the next three years, serving in the Navy during World War II, and came back to the Tobs in 1946. He played for the Raleigh Capitals in the Carolina League the next summer, with a 14-7, 3.00 record. He was 10th in the league in wins and was in the top 10 in ERA. He was 16-10 with a 3.98 ERA for the 1947 Raleigh Cardinals, tying for 8th in the Carolina League in victories.
He spent the next several seasons with the Rocky Mount Leafs of the Coastal Plains League. In 1948, he won 28 games to lead the league (two ahead of Harry Helmer, tying Bill Kennedy's league record for wins. He also set a league record with 32 complete games. He lost 10 and had a 3.66 ERA, among the top 10. The following year, he took over as the Leafs manager. He fell to 13-6, 4.02 that summer. He had a 14-9, 2.70 record for the 1950 Leafs. He was 6th in the circuit in victories and 5th in ERA. He wrapped up in 1951 with the Leafs and New Bern Bears, a combined 13-8, 4.18.
Following his baseball career, Benton started an office product company in Wilson, North Carolina, and he later spent 6 years as mayor of Wilson in the 1970s; he had previously been on City Council there. He also coached Charles L. Coon High School and taught accounting at Atlantic Christian College.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1949||Rocky Mount Leafs||Coastal Plain League||1st||none||Lost in 1st round||replaced Quentin Martin June 26|
|1950||Rocky Mount Leafs||Coastal Plain League||73-65||2nd||none||Lost in 1st round|
|1951||Rocky Mount Leafs||Coastal Plain League||6th||none||replaced Bull Hamons August 15|
Sources include The News & Observer