|Long before Clint Eastwood made
action movies, Bennett used the
glare against batters!
Back in August, I wrote a two-part feature on pitcher Dennis Bennett.
He passed away last week at age 72.
I hope he was at peace over his injury-shortened career. In his letter, I wasn’t sure. I know that time hadn’t dulled his historic recollections.
Coming Friday: A surprising update about pitcher Pat Neshek.
|Love this 1964 Topps. The more
you stare at it, the longer
Bennett’s arm’s grow. They
don’t call it “the stretch”
Pitcher Dennis Bennett sent me two pages of memories. Yesterday, I shared his regret. Today, here’s the happy highlights.
Bennett slugged four homers in his career…not bad for any pitcher. His favorite came on Sept. 28, 1963 at Dodger Stadium. The dinger was one of three hits by the hurler. (Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/ for the coverage.) Bennett’s top memory?
“Off of Johnny Podres of the Dodgers. He was a friend of mine. He bought the beer all night.”
In his previous entry, Bennett referred to the off-season car wreck which slammed the door on his progress. What were the happiest memories from winter ball?
“Winning the pennant in Ponce in 1969. All the nice people and friends I made there. Married one. But met her in Boston.”
Arguably, Bennett’s best year might have been his 12-win campaign with the 1964 Phillies. Did he fault skipper Gene Mauch’s leadership in failing to claim the pennant?
“Gene was a great manager and deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. He was a great baseball man.”
Todd Newville did an all-star job profiling Bennett for his website, Baseball Todd’s Dugout.
Coming Wednesday: Considering the autographs of baseball relatives with “Double X,” one of the hobby’s top hobbyists.
|Bennett maintains that trademark
autograph, showcased by a
reverse slant much like
Pitcher Dennis Bennett never got a do-over.
He was a key hurler for the 1964 Phillies, winning 12 games for the team who seemed destined for a pennant until the last weeks of the season.
He summed up his career with great emotion, writing:
“Just being in the Big Leagues was my biggest thrill. Seeing and playing with the greatest players in the world.
My career was cut short by a car wreck. But I made the most out of a bad deal. With today’s technology, I would probably still be pitching.
I was one of the young and coming star(s) of the year.
It’s hard to say where I might have ended my career without getting hurt. They said I had the makings of a superstar. Oh, well. At least I got to play the game I loved for 17 years.
It could of been.
Read more about Bennett’s roller-coaster career ride in the fine SABR biography written by Mark Amour.
Coming Tuesday: In part 2, Bennett shares fond memories of Johnny Podres and Gene Mauch.