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benny distefano, 1987 topps #651, pirates

Player: Distefano, Benny

Card: 1987 Topps #651

Position: C

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"Major league teams have been panting for more catchers since shinguards, begging for mothers to allow their sons to play there, and yet they cut off an entire stream of talent that happens to throw left-handed. In the last 100 years, Dale Long caught two innings for the Chicago Cubs in 1958, Mike Squires the same for the 1980 White Sox. And since Aug. 18, 1989, when Distefano caught for the last time, baseball has embraced retro uniforms and even revenue sharing—but not the likes of Distefano... 'It's a slow-changing game,' said Distefano, 'it takes a creative manager that's willing to go with something that might be a little outside the box.'" - New York Times Alan Schwarz (08/15/2009, 'Left-Handed and Left Out')

Benito James Distefano (born January 23, 1962 in Brooklyn, NY) is an American former professional baseball player. Benny attended Brooklyn's Lafayette High School, and is one of 11 Lafayette alumni who made it to the major leagues, including Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, the Aspromonte brothers, and John Franco. Benny grew up a huge Met's fan.

He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros in the 1980s and with Navegantes del Magallanes in LVBP (Venezuelan Professional Baseball League). His time in the minor leagues was interesting, including being visited by Morganna the kissing bandit on-field before an at-bat.

Benny remains the most recent left-handed-throwing player to catch an MLB game, catching in three separate games for the Pirates in 1989. Notably, on April 28, 1992, David Cone of the New York Mets brought a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Benny broke it up with an infield hit.

Since retiring, Benny has served as a hitting coach and a bench coach in the NY Mets organization, including the Brooklyn Cyclones.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


1985 Topps #162


Benny is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Benny is also part of the Pittsburgh Pirates Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

See Distefano’s baseball cards at TCDB

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