Vernon Adair Benson
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.
- School Catawba College
- High School Granite Quarry High School
- Debut July 31, 1943
- Final Game May 30, 1953
- Born September 19, 1924 in Granite Quarry, NC USA
- Died January 20, 2014 in Salisbury, NC USA
Signed by Connie Mack's Athletics in 1943, Benson played in two major league games that year, both against the Chicago White Sox, going hitless in two plate appearances as a pinch hitter. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he returned to baseball in 1946, spending most of that summer in the minors. He did appear in 7 early-season games for Philadelphia that summer, but once again, he went hitless in 5 at-bats. That September, he was traded to the Cardinals along with two other players for Eddie Joost.
Benson spent the next several years back in the minor leagues but earned brief call-ups to St. Louis in 1951, 1952, and 1953. He finally recorded his first big on September 9, 1951, recording a double in the second game of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, more than eight years after his big league debut. He hit .261 in 13 games for the Cards that year, and the next season, he hit 2 home runs in 20 games with the team.
Benson began his managerial career in 1956 with the Winnipeg Goldeyes while still a player. His playing time decreased in each successive year, until 1959, when he appeared for the Tulsa Oilers in his final two games as a player. He managed in the minors through July 6, 1961, when he was assigned to a coaching position with the St. Louis Cardinals. He coached there through 1964, when the team won the World Series, and followed Cards manager Johnny Keane to the New York Yankees in 1965, staying as a coach until May 7, 1966. He coached the Cincinnati Reds under Dave Bristol from July 15, 1966 through 1969, then the Cardinals again from July 17, 1970 to 1975.
In 1976, when Bristol was named manager of the Atlanta Braves, he hired Benson as a coach. On May 11, 1977, with the team in a 16-game losing streak, Bristol was given a leave of absence by owner Ted Turner so Turner could manage the team himself. After National League President Chub Feeney intervened to force Turner to step down, Benson took over as interim manager on May 12th and put an end to the losing streak that had by then reached 17 games. Bristol returned to the helm the next day. Benson then managed for two seasons in the minor leagues before coaching again under Bristol with the San Francisco Giants in 1980. He later was a Cardinals scout in the 1980s.
Benson's son, Randy Benson, pitched in the minors for the Cardinals.
|Atlanta Braves Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1956||Winnipeg Goldeyes||Northern League||63-55||2nd||St. Louis Cardinals||Lost in 1st round|
|1957||Winnipeg Goldeyes||Northern League||69-53||2nd||St. Louis Cardinals||League Champs|
|1958||Winston-Salem Red Birds||Carolina League||69-68||5th||St. Louis Cardinals|
|1959||Tulsa Oilers||Texas League||77-67||3rd||St. Louis Cardinals||Lost in 1st round|
|1960||Tulsa Oilers||Texas League||76-68||3rd||St. Louis Cardinals||League Champs|
|1961||Portland Beavers||Pacific Coast League||42-36||--||St. Louis Cardinals||replaced by Ray Katt (29-47) on July 6|
|1977||Atlanta Braves||National League||1-0||--||Atlanta Braves|| replaced Dave Bristol (8-21) and Ted Turner (0-1) on May 12/|
replaced by Dave Bristol on May 13
|1978||Syracuse Chiefs||International League||50-90||8th||Toronto Blue Jays|
|1979||Syracuse Chiefs||International League||77-63||2nd||Toronto Blue Jays||Lost League Finals|