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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
We make our comeback article on this fine early May morning with a new segment (credit to Jameson Foley and Mike
Boss for a bitchin’ idea) called Until he Went to the Mets, chronicling the careers of once-great Major League Baseball players–players we all thought would continue on to do great things…until they went to the Mets. We start this segment off with one of our favorites, the great (Chris with a K) Benson….You know, the dude with the ridiculously hot wife?
Kris Benson went undrafted out of high school but attended Clemson University where he became the team’s ace. He was named the 1996 college baseball player of the year, and was the consensus ’96 number one overall pick. It was on the back of Benson that the 1996 US Olympic Baseball team was forced to settle for the Bronze metal, after getting shelled by Japan in his only loss of the Olympics.
Benson is known for being one of the most over-hyped pitchers in recent memory, but even so, made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Pirates, where he pitched service-ably, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year balloting, and followed up that performance with an even better 2000. Benson’s best season in the Majors was that season, in which he finished 10-12 (Behind ZERO run support) with a 3.85 ERA. He missed ’01 after receiving Tommy John surgery, but would eventually be moved to the Mets at the 2004 trade deadline. Players the Mets let go in that deal? Ty Wigginton, and that guy who hit 54 bombs last year–none other than Jose Bautista.
Benson posted a solid September with the Mets, despite not putting the team over the top and into the playoffs. The team was impressed, and that offseason, gave Benson a three-year, $25 Million deal, thinking Benson’s stock was surging after his good month with the team. Boy, could they not have been more wrong. Instead, Benson pitched JUST like the mediocre pitcher he always was, and in his only full season in New York, went 10-8 with a predictably average 4.13 ERA.
Benson was shipped off to Baltimore before the ’06 season after playing just one of the three seasons he signed onto the Mets for. Many think the reason Benson turned out to be such a bust was because Kris’ wife, Anna, was just too fucking attractive and kept distracting the team when she’d sit in the front row seats funded by Kris’ obscene contract.
He last pitched in the Majors last season, before announcing his retirement this past January. All said and done, Benson never even began to pitch at the elite level in which his tax bracket ought to have placed him. That lucky bastard made almost $39 million in his career, 25 of it signed over to him from the Mets. Which gets to the real point here. Kris Benson was a mediocre pitcher, and moderately rich. And then he went to the Mets. He got no better at all, but got PAID. And what other reason would there really be to play for the Mets, anyway?