It was awful. There was Steve Garvey, with the biggest forearms in the game of baseball, coming in at full speed toward the plate.
There was Bruce Benedict, standing in front of the plate waiting for the throw from right field, knowing by his periferal vision that Garvey was coming toward him.
And then... Boom.
Benedict was out. Forgive me for not remembering whether Garvey was out or not. We were all more worried whether or not Benedict was alive.
He was, and he recovered. But the vision of Bruce Benedict being out on the ground, with an ambulance being on the field at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium tending to Bruce is something I won't forget for the rest of my life.
Benedict now says it was a clean play, and it was for 1979. Rules have changed obviously, so that we will no longer have those type of violent collisions at home plate.
It happened all the time back in the day, however. We didn't always have the ambulance on the field making sure the catcher wasn't paralyzed like that night, but there were regular collisions that make you wonder about concussions and realize the hard hits people with the tools of ignorance once had to deal with.
Benedict was not the biggest catcher behind the plate, but he was one tough cookie, especially to survive a big knock from Steve Garvey, and as he tells us in the above interview one with Ken Caminiti, as well
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