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MLB – 1985 – Baseball Behind The Seam – Braves C Bruce Benedict Fighting His Job – With Kirk Douglas

Bruce Edwin Benedict (born August 18, 1955) is an American former professional baseball player, coach and scout….who played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Atlanta Braves from 1978 to 1989…..after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 5th round of the 1976 Major League Baseball Draft…..when he made his major league debut on August 18, 1978, his 23rd birthday.

Benedict led National League catchers in 1981 with 73 assists and 48 base runners caught stealing….as his defensive skills earned him a spot as a reserve on the 1981 National League All-Star team….then in 1982, Benedict led National League catchers with a .993 fielding percentage, as the Braves won the National League Western Division title.  The highlight of Benedict’s season came in a regular season game when he set an MLB record by throwing out 3 base runners in one inning. In the only post-season appearance of his career, the Braves lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 National League Championship Series.

In 1983, Benedict had a batting average well over .300 in the middle of June….which earned him a place as a reserve player for the National League in the 1983 All-Star Game…..when he ended the season with a career-high batting average of .298 with two home runs, 43 runs batted in and a .992 fielding percentage….which was second only to Gary Carter among National League catchers.

Benedict’s batting average fell to .223 with only 25 RBIs in 1984….and he was replaced by Rick Cerone in 1985….as the Braves sought more offense from the catcher’s position.  He continued to work as a backup catcher to Ozzie Virgil from 1986 to 1988….and then to Jody Davis in 1989…..as he retired after the 1989 season having spent his entire career with the Braves.

In a twelve-year major league career, Benedict played in 982 games, accumulating 696 hits in 2,878 at bats for a .242 career batting average….along with 18 home runs and 260 runs batted in.  While he was a light-hitting player, he had good defensive abilities, ending his career with a .990 fielding percentage.  

A two-time All-Star, Benedict’s value to the Braves was as a defensive catcher…..as his development enabled the Braves to find another position for Dale Murphy….who would have his greatest seasons as an outfielder and, subsequently, the Braves became National League contenders.

Bruce Benedict never played a position other than catcher during his entire major league career…..as the Fulton County Stadium crowd would commonly chant “BRUUUCE” whenever Benedict came up to bat at home…..whereby his nickname is “Eggs”, as in eggs benedict.

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