Former No. 1 pick decides he overstays his welcome


krisbenson.jpgKris Benson announced his retirement Tuesday, quite frankly I thought he left the game of baseball years ago.

After being picked up by the Pirates with the No. 1 pick in 1996 he ended his career nearly 14 years later with a record of 70-75 and an ERA of 4.42. He had just one 10 win season in his injury laden career.


He left Pittsburgh in 2004 when he was traded to the Mets in exchange for Jose Bautista. Benson faltered even more with another elbow injury in New York and from 2006 on he spent time in Baltimore and Texas but never amounted to even the miniscule success he found in Pittsburgh. It was reported that Benson was toying with the idea of signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of 2010 but the 36 year old felt it was in his best interest to offcially retire from baseball.

I don’t blame him.

The dissapointing career might not totally be his fault, though. Perhaps the only mistake he made was the fact that he agreed to sign with the Pirates back in ’96. He was just another pawn in the losing chess game otherwise known as the Pirates in the MLB draft.

Let’s start back in 1992, the last winning season for Pittsburgh and look year by year at the first round picks for the Bucs.

1992: Jason Kendall

1993: Charles Peterson

1994: Mark Farris

1995: Chad Hermansen

1996: Kris Benson

1997: J.J. Davis

1998: Clint Johnson

1999: Bobby Bradley

2000: Sean Burnett

2001: John Van Benschoten

2002: Bryan Bullington

2003: Paul Maholm

2004: Neil Walker

2005: Andrew McCutchen

2006: Brad Lincoln

2007: Daniel Moskos

2008: Pedro Alvarez

2009: Tony Sanchez

2010: Jameson Tailon

Four of those players are on the current Pirates roster, four spent ever-so bried stints in Pittsburgh, three look to be major pieces in building the next wave of successful baseball in the Steel City, one had a fruitful major league career, one currently is sweeping the bullpens in Washington and the rest probably haven’t been heard from since draft day.

Even though the Pirates, as well as Benson, have been losers for nearly two decades there is something Kris has that very few others do.

A lingerie model.


anna-benson.jpgPerhaps it was Anna Benson that made Kris famous in the end.

photo credits:,



  1. blithescribe

    That’s the problem with draft picks. They’re a bet – an educated bet, but still a bet. The injuries are only rarely something you can predict, though of course everyone tries. And you have no real idea how a guy is going to mesh with a given team. Some of these guys might have been better players with another organization. Some failed to mediocre draft picks from other organizations might have been better if they had player with the Pirates. You never know. This is part of why I wish the Angels would at least draft college players where you’ve seen a little bit more of what they can do rather than the high school players they prefer, where the bet becomes that much more risky.
    – Kristen

  2. ronlang44

    I remember Benson and the promise he had. It’s unfortunate that his career didn’t work out the way many thought it would. At least the Pirates have drafted well the last few years. Walker, McCutchen and Alvarez should be the foundation this year and that’s something to build on.


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