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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Bill Bene proved inconsistent, both before and after first-round selection; Made AAA

The Los Angeles Times caught up with Cal State Los Angeles' Bill Bene in May 1988 and described his pitching as, well, inconsistent. 
"You never know what will happen when he pitches," Bene's coach John Herbold told The Times then. "He might throw a no-hitter or he might walk the whole park."

The Dodgers put a bet on his capabilities to do the former, throw no-hitters, as they took him fifth overall in that year's draft.

Bene's career, however, proved more of the latter. His inconsistency continued over a career that spanned a decade in the pros. He topped out at AAA.

Bene's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Dodgers in the first round of the draft out of Cal State Los Angeles.

With his first-round expectations, Bene started work at rookie Great Falls. He went 5-0 there over 13 outings, but had a 4.55 ERA. He walked 45 batters.

He moved to short-season Salem and single-A Bakersfield for 1989 and he showed a wildness. He saw only 27 innings of work between them, walked 56 and turned in a 10.33 ERA. 

He broke a teammate's wrist in one batting practice and the team briefly had him pitch to a mannequin instead, The Times wrote.

"It was a gamble, and I know if he doesn't make it, a lot of people are going to take some heat," Dodgers scouting director Ben Wade told The Times at the close of 1989. "But look at all he's overcome, he'll be fine."

Bene moved to high-A Vero Beach for 1990, then returned there in 1991 and 1992. He also saw time at AA San Antonio in 1992. He went 1-10 at Vero Beach in 1990, with a 6.99 ERA. 

He then went 2-4, with a 2.70 over his 1992 campaign as he showed some of the spark that the Dodgers originally saw.

"We've all seen flashes of greatness from Bill Bene," his pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn told The Indian River Press Journal that August. "But this is the most consistency we've seen from Bill Bene. There's nothing we can do. He's got to maintain it."

But he couldn't. He played all of 1993 at San Antonio, then most of 1994 there. He also saw nine outings at AAA Albuquerque in 1994. He had a 10.03 ERA there.

He played 1995 briefly with the Reds at AA Chattanooga and at independent Palm Springs. He missed 1996, then came back for one final season in 1997 with the Angels, at AA Midland and AAA Vancouver to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,859
Made the Majors:1,293-33.5%
Never Made Majors:2,566-66.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:324-X

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