Héctor Benítez (Redondo)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
Héctor Benítez played in the early years of the Venezuelan League.
Benítez was with the Venezuelan national team in the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games and the 1941 Amateur World Series (which Venezuela won, topping rival Cuba for the first time in a major tournament). He was the Amateur World Series MVP in 1945, helping the Venezuelan national team to the title by hitting .526 with 16 runs and 16 RBI (leading the event in all three departments). When the Venezuelan League was formed in 1946, he hit .263 and slugged .394 for the Cerveceria Caracas club. In 1946-1947, he batted .302, followed by a .340 campaign with a .509 slugging percentage in 1947-1948. He was 6th in the league in average, between Luke Easter and Roy Campanella. The Caracas native fell to .258 with a .290 slugging in 1948-1949 but rebounded to .316 and .458 in 1949-1950. In the 1949 Caribbean Series, the outfielder was 6 for 21 with a home run. He hit .287 and slugged .395 in 1950-1951 but had career highs in home runs (5) and steals (12). Only Cuba's Carlos Colas stole more bases that year.
In 1951-1952, the veteran hit .327/?/.455 to lead the Patriotas de Venezuela in average. During the 1952 Caribbean Series, he started in the outfield alongside Piper Davis and Wilmer Fields for Venezuela, going 6 for 21 for the Series. In '52-'53, he fell to .250 with a .338 slugging. In 1953-1954, he played for both the Navegantes del Magallanes (5 for 24) and the Leones del Caracas (.362, .483 SLG). In 1954-1955, he hit .243 and slugged .300 for the Patriotas. For the 1955-1956 Licoreros de Pampero, he was 9 for 45 with 4 doubles and a triple. In 1956-1957, he hit .345, second on the club behind Buddy Peterson.
Overall, he hit .297 and slugged .405 in 419 games in the Venezuelan League, with 20 homers, 37 steals, 195 runs and 158 RBI. In 2006, he was inducted into the Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Venezolano when the entire 1941 Amateur World Series champion team was inducted; two years later, he was inducted individually as well. When he died of cancer in 2011, only two players from the 1941 Amateur World Series team remained.