John Alton Benton
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 215 lb.
- Debut April 18, 1934
- Final Game September 21, 1952
- Born March 18, 1911 in Noble, OK USA
- Died April 14, 1968 in Lynwood, CA USA
"There is the best relief pitcher in the business right over there. There's a man for you. Works harder and better'n anybody I ever saw. You don't mind leaving a game in his hands when you gotta go." - Bobo Newsom, to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 22, 1941
Al Benton was the only pitcher to have pitched to both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle during his career. He was also the only pitcher to pitch against Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. Gehrig and DiMaggio hit a total of 5 home runs off Benton.
Benton was the Dick Tidrow of his time, according to similarity scores. He had a 14-year career (interrupted by World War II), all in the American League, and is credited with 66 saves, which is lot considering that the statistic did not exist then. His record was 98-88. There were times when he was a starter; in particular, he had a very good year in 1945, when the Detroit Tigers won the pennant. His ERA was 2.02, and he had a record of 13-8 with 3 saves. In the 1945 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, he appeared in 3 games in relief with a 1.93 ERA. During his career, he was a two-time All-Star and twice finished second in the league in ERA. In 1949, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Al set a major league record with 39 consecutive scoreless relief innings. This record was tied in 2008 by the A's Brad Ziegler.
Benton entered the Navy in November 1942 and was discharged in November 1944. He died in 1968 from burns suffered in a fire when the motel he was managing burst into flames.
- 2-time AL All-Star (1941 & 1942)
- AL Saves Leader (1940)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1941)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1942)
- 39 straight scoreless innings: (1949)
- Won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1945