Lawrence James Benton
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut April 19, 1923
- Final Game August 16, 1935
- Born November 20, 1897 in St. Louis, MO USA
- Died April 3, 1953 in Amberley, OH USA
Right-hander Larry Benton started out in pro baseball with the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia League in 1920 and the 22-year-old went 13-10 while pitching 205 innings. He was with the same squad again in 1921, going 18-18 in 297 innings. In his third year out, he was with the Memphis Chickasaws of the Southern Association where he pitched over 200 innings again with 216 to his credit, while going 15-13 with a 3.29 ERA. Benton would not be back in the minors until 1936, spending 13 straight seasons in the major leagues.
Benton was acquired by the Boston Braves from the New York Giants on July 30, 1922 and opened up his major league run with the Beantowners, beginning the 1923 season. Larry would struggle his first two seasons up, but in 1925 he pulled it together winning 14 and losing 7 with a 3.09 ERA for the fifth-place Braves. He went 14-14 while pitching 231 innings for his team in 1926.
Larry had been with the Braves for almost five and one-half seasons and had a 4-2 record by June 12, 1927, when his team traded him, along with Zack Taylor and Herb Thomas to the 1927 New York Giants for Doc Farrell, Kent Greenfield and Hugh McQuillan.
The trade didn't seem to bother Larry at all as he went on as he had started, winning 13 and losing 5 for the Giants and finished up the split season with a 17-7 record; his .708 winning percentage would lead the league and he pitched 233 innings. The Giants, however, finished in third place a half-game behind the second place Cardinals and two behind the pennant-winning Pirates. Benton came back in 1928 with his career year going 25-9, leading the 1928 NL in wins, winning percentage at .735 and complete games with 28. But John McGraw's Giants finished second, two games behind the Cardinals.
Benton made a full turn-a-round in 1929, winning 11 but losing 17 with a 4.14 ERA and the Giants fell to third place, 13.5 games off the pace. 1930 was a dark year for Benton as he started off 1-3. On May 21, 1930, the Giants dealt him to the Cincinnati Reds for Hughie Critz. Benton would only win 7 but lose 12 with a 5.12 ERA for the seventh-place Reds and that gave him an 8-15 record for the year with a 5.50 ERA.
Larry would pitch for five more seasons in the majors, four for the Reds, 1931 through 1934 and finished out his big league time with the 1935 Braves. In his last five years, he was unable to have any that reached the .500 mark. His 13-year major league career showed a 127 win and 128 loss record with a 4.03 ERA while pitching 2,297 innings.
As things go, Benton wasn't ready to quit just yet and the 38-year-old pitcher gave it one more try back in the minors with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. Benton appeared in six games, went 1-1 and called it a career. After baseball Benton moved to Amberley, OH, where he died on April 3, 1953 at 55 years of age.
- NL Wins Leader (1928)
- 2-time NL Winning Percentage Leader (1927 & 1928)
- NL Complete Games Leader: 1 (1928)
- NL 15 Win Seasons: 1 (1928)
- NL 20 Win Seasons: 1 (1928)
- NL 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1926-1931)
- NL 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1928)