Drafted number one overall by the San Diego Padres in Major League Baseball’s 1988 amateur draft, Andy Benes enjoyed a 14-year career pitching for the Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Selected by the Padres as a 20 year old out of his home town University of Evansville in Evansville, Illinois,
Benes also had the chance to compete on an international level that same year, ultimately earning the gold medal for the United States at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Benes debuted for the Padres less than one year later in 1989 as a 21 year old and after just 10 starts he was named National League Rookie Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News.
Benes pitched parts of seven seasons for the Padres, where he earned an All-Star nod in 1993 and led the N.L. in strikeouts the following season, before being traded part way through the year to Seattle. Benes signed as a free agent with the Cardinals following the 1995 and returned to the Midwest to pitch for the team he grew up rooting for.
With Benes on their staff, the Cardinals reached the postseason three times. In 1998 Benes turned in the finest season of his career, winning 18 games while finishing third in the Cy Young voting. Between stints in St. Louis Benes pitched two seasons with the expansion Diamondbacks, where he started and threw the first pitch in the franchise’s history on March 31, 1998.
Benes retired following the 2002 season with 155 career wins and 2,000 strikeouts. Following his retirement, Benes struggled with alcohol abuse and gambling before rediscovering the Christian Faith and turning his life around. Benes frequently speaks on his Faith and is heavily involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He currently resides on the outskirts of St. Louis with his wife, Jennifer, and their children.
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