In our continuing series on the 1982 Atlanta Braves, we look at catcher Bruce Benedict, who spent his entire 12-year major league career in Atlanta. Benedict had a career batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage of .242/.320/.299 in 3295 plate appearances.
Benedict hit only 18 career home runs in 2878 at-bats, but he was in fact a two-time All-Star, including a magical 1983 season in which Bruce hit .298 and everything that he touched seemed to find a hole. (He is tied with Leo Durocher for the 15th-worst career OPS among all players selected to the All-Star Game, and he and Bud Harrelson are the only two-time All-Stars with a career slugging percentage under .300.)
Benedict was a popular player, who was invariably met with shouts of “Bruuuuuuuuce!” when his name was announced, in reference to the old joke: “They’re not booing – they’re saying ‘Bruuuuuuuuce!'”
Inexplicably, they actually were saying “Bruuuuuuuuce.”
My favorite memory of Benedict came in 1994 while watching Dale Murphy’s uniform number retirement ceremony. The Braves introduced several of Murph’s old teammates, and despite the fact that by then Benedict had not been in front of an Atlanta crowd for 5 years, when he was announced, the crowd immediately went into “Bruuuuuuuuce!” mode. However, the topper came later in the ceremony when they introduced some random friend from Murph’s high school days, who was also named Bruce. Without missing a beat, again the crowd immediately crooned — “Bruuuuuuuuce!”
Sometimes, people are just the best.