November 3rd, 2013

November 3 – Happy Birthday Armando Benitez

Armando Benitez provided several memorable moments in Yankee history, but none of them took place during the short time the fire-balling right hander wore a Yankee uniform. It was Benitez who gave up the famous Derek Jeter – Jeffrey Maier home run during the 1996 ALCS that helped the Yankees beat Baltimore for the AL Pennant that year. Then two seasons later, after Bernie Williams hit a huge three-run late-inning home run off of him, Benitez not only hit the next batter, Tino Martinez, he then openly challenged the Yankee dugout to a fight, setting off one of the most memorable brawls in pinstripe history. Then when Benitez joined the Mets in 1999, he eventually took over the closer role from John Franco. During his three full seasons in that role, Benitez saved 117 games while Mariano Rivera was saving 114 for the Yankees. The “who had the better closer” argument became one of many dramatic sub-titles to the 2000 Subway World Series.

So as a Yankee fan, I have lots of Armando Benitez memories but I almost forgot he actually pitched in pinstripes for nine games during the 2003 season. The Yankees had got him from the Mets for three minor league prospects hoping he would be the eighth inning setup guy for Rivera. When he faltered in that role, the Yankees traded him to Seattle for former Yankee set-up specialist, Jeff Nelson. Through 2008, the last season he saw action in the Major Leagues, Benitez compiled a career total of 289 saves.

Armando was born on November 3, 1972, in the Dominican Republic. He shares his birthday with this former Yankee starting pitcher who never seemed to get a chance to pitch,  this former Yankee reliever who got way too many opportunities to do so and this former Yankee manager.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2003 NYY 1 1 .500 1.93 9 0 2 0 0 0 9.1 8 4 2 0 6 10 1.500
15 Yrs 40 47 .460 3.13 762 0 527 0 0 289 779.0 545 296 271 95 403 946 1.217
NYM (5 yrs) 18 14 .563 2.70 333 0 266 0 0 160 347.0 225 111 104 39 168 456 1.133
BAL (5 yrs) 11 16 .407 3.62 207 0 107 0 0 37 213.2 149 91 86 27 129 283 1.301
SFG (3 yrs) 6 8 .429 4.10 90 0 77 0 0 45 85.2 81 41 39 14 46 72 1.482
FLA (2 yrs) 4 7 .364 2.72 100 0 66 0 0 47 102.2 68 39 31 11 41 101 1.062
SEA (1 yr) 0 0 3.14 15 0 7 0 0 0 14.1 10 5 5 1 11 15 1.465
NYY (1 yr) 1 1 .500 1.93 9 0 2 0 0 0 9.1 8 4 2 0 6 10 1.500
TOR (1 yr) 0 1 .000 5.68 8 0 2 0 0 0 6.1 4 5 4 3 2 9 0.947
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/3/2013.