August 24, 1957 |
|September 14, 1978, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 15, 1985, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||10|
A highly touted prospect out of Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida, Benton was the 6th overall selection in the first round of the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft. He made the jump from AA to the major leagues at age 21 in 1978 when he joined the Mets as a September call-up. He made his major league debut on September 14, pinch-hitting for Roy Lee Jackson. Facing Dan Schatzeder, Benton flew out to center field. He wouldn't break the lineup again until September 29, when he was hit by a Mike Krukow pitch as a pinch-hitter. Benton scored his first major league run as a pinch-runner the next day. Finally on October 1, the last day of the season, Benton got his first chance to play in the field, and also went 2-for-3 at the plate. His first major league hit was an RBI infield single of the Cubs' Lynn McGlothen. He knocked in a second run in the game with a single in the ninth. Benton was the sixth-youngest player to appear in the National League in 1978.
Benton spent the entirety of the 1979 season with the Mets' AAA affiliate in Tidewater and fared poorly, hitting only .198. However, an improved offensive performance in 1980 earned him some time in the majors again. Unfortunately, Benton struggled mightily, managing just one hit in 21 at-bats for a batting average of .048. Before the 1981 season, the Mets traded him to the Cubs for future considerations. He again spent the balance of the season in the minors, hitting just .202 for the Cubs' AAA team in Iowa. Benton showed his resiliency, however, rebounding to hit .330 in 1982. He made his debut for the Cubs after rosters expanded in September and managed one hit in seven at-bats over four games.
Before the 1983 season, Benton was on the move again. The Cubs traded him to the Montreal Expos for Jerry Manuel. Despite a solid season for Montreal's AAA affiliate, Benton did not get promoted, and he filed for free agency at the end of the season. He spent the 1984 season catching for Detroit's AAA team in Evansville, then signed with the Indians organization, where he made the team out of spring training in 1985 as their backup catcher. On April 27, about six and a half years after his major league debut, Benton garnered his first extra-base hit, a double off Scott McGregor. However, after going 5-for-44 over his final 17 games to lower his average to .179, Benton was demoted to AAA, where he remained for the duration of the season. The Indians released him in February 1986.
Benton did not reemerge until a comeback attempt in 1991 at age 33. With Detroit's AAA team in Toledo, Benton hit just .133 in nine games. He was subsequently released and retired from baseball.
Benton's career consisted of 99 at-bats over an eight-season span. His career batting average was .162. He hit four doubles in his career, but never a home run or triple, and he knocked in a total of ten runs.
Benton married the former Linn Abshier in 1996 and resides in Belleview, Florida. They have 9 children and many grandchildren. Benton is currently a PGA professional and runs a golf course in Central Florida. He is a member of the MLBPAA and attends charity events along with other retired MLB players.