Former Mets Pitcher Kris Benson & His Ex-Wife Anna (2004-2006)

Kristopher James Benson was born November 7, 1974 in Superior, Wisconsin. His parents named all their children starting with the letter K, the scoring symbol for strikeout. 

After living in Michigan his first six years the family moved to Georgia. The six-foot four right hander became a star pitcher at Clemson University where his first two seasons didn’t go all that well.

Benson says he hit the gym put on some muscle & came back to strike out over 200 batters in his junior year. He was first in wins, strike outs & second in ERA, winning the Baseball America College player of the Year in 1995. He got to the College World Series, but two decisions. 

US Olympic Team: He was on the 1996 USA Olympic team going 2-1. But Benson lost the gold medal game to Japan as Team US settled for a bronze medal. Benson was the Pittsburgh Pirates number one overall draft pick in 1996, signing for a $2 million bonus.

Anna Benson Enters: While pitching in the minors he met a model from Atlanta Georgia named Anna. At the time she was reportedly dancing at a strip club named Mardi Gras. The two fell in love & soon got married. 

 In 1998 he was considered one of the top minor league pitchers in the country although he struggled a bit at Nashville going 8-10. But the Pirates were desperate for something positive & chose to bring him up to the big leagues with a lot of hype in 1999.

MLB Career: Benson made his MLB debut on April 9th, earning a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh. He immediately brought some excitement to the Steel City pitching staff. He went 11-14 with a 4.07 ERA in 31 starts that season. He pitched into the 8th inning or beyond nine times, collecting 139 strikeouts in 196 innings pitched. Benson came in 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting. 

 In 2000 he began the year at 0-3, then allowed two runs or less in his next five starts to get to 4-4. On May 14th he shut out the Brewers through eight innings but got no decision. On May 19th he pitched a three-hit complete game victory striking out eleven St. Louis’ Cardinals. Two outings later he struck out eleven more batters in a game against the Florida Marlins.

On June 16th, Benson tossed a six-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves at home in Pittsburgh. Benson would finish the year with a 3.85 ERA, but the lack of Pirate run support gave him 10-12 record. He struck out 184 batters (10t in the NL) in 217 innings pitched.

In 2001 he signed a big $13.8 million-dollar, four-year deal with the Pirates as he and his wife became a celebrity couple around Pittsburgh. 

After the signing things quickly began to go sour; on a personal level he & Anna were criticized after they told explicit details of their sex lives in an interview with Penthouse magazine. 

Then on the mound Kris sprained his elbow, tore a ligament and missed the whole 2001 season. The Steel City fans & media weren’t happy. He went 9-6 in his 2002 return but then struggled through more injuries going 5-9 pitching in just 19 games with a 4.97 ERA in 2003.

In 2004 he was 8-8 & as his contract began to run out, rumors spread all summer about a trade. He was supposed to go to Philadelphia for a prospect named Ryan Howard but that deal fell through. The Mets were in desperate need of good pitching and pulled off what was considered a big trade at the time. On July 30, 2004, Kris and Anna Benson came to New York along with Jeff Keppinger in exchange for Ty Wigginton, Jose Bautista, and Matt Peterson.

Mets Career: On July 31st, Benson made his Mets debut pitching in Atlanta getting pounded for seven runs in just four innings taking the loss. His second start was in St. Louis, although he pitched well allowing just one run over seven innings, he earned no decision as the Mets fell 2-1 to Woody Woodward. His next start was his debut at Shea Stadium against Arizona, although he gave up six runs, the Mets scored ten giving him his first Mets win.

He won his next start as well then took two more losses, including a horrible eight run eight hit outing against the Dodgers at Shea Stadium.

Benson began September with back-to-back wins, including pitching 18 straight shutout innings. On September 9th, he pitched six scoreless in Florida in a 4-0 Mets win. 

Shut Out:
On September 14th he threw a complete game four hit shutout over the Braves at Shea. In that game he struck out seven & walked no one.

On September 19th, he returned to Pittsburgh & was hit for six runs taking a 6-1 loss to the Pirates. His next two starts went well giving up just three runs over 12 innings, but both resulted in no decisions.

Since coming to the Mets, he went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA struggling with his adjustment to New York. He finished the year 12-12 overall with a 4.50 ERA striking out 134 batters in 201 innings.

2005: Benson began the year on the DL not making his first start until May 5th. That day he allowed two runs over 4.2 innings against Philadelphia, earning no decision. After a loss at Wrigley Field in Chicago he won three straight starts. 

Subway Series: On May 21st he pitched six shutout innings beating Randy Johnson in the subway series in a 7-1 Met win over their cross-town rivals. In that game he gave up just three hits while striking out & walking three. On June 26th he & Johnson went at it again, he left the game in a 1-1 tie, the Mets scored three runs off Johnson in the top of the 7th, but the Met bullpen blew the game.

In June, Benson had continued success going 3-0 putting him at 6-3 
with a 3.40 ERA by the All-Star break. Beginning on July 24th, e won three of four decisions. 

On August 10th he had one of his best outings of the year, it came at Shea Stadium against the San Diego Padres. Benson pitched into the 9th inning striking out six batters while only allowing one run on three hits.

On August 16th he beat his old Pirate teammates at Shea Stadium pitching seven strong innings, but then lost three straight decisions into late September. He finished off the year with a win over the Colorado Rockies in the last home series of the year. 

For 2005, Benson was 10-8 with a 4.13 ERA. He had the third most wins on the staff, behind veterans Pedro Martinez & Tom Glavine. Benson struck out just 95 batters in 174 innings while walking 49. He allowed 24 HRs, while posting a 4.13 ERA. Certainly not the numbers the Mets were expecting after paying out such big bucks. 

Anna Benson Drama:
To make matters worse his wife Anna was really causing him a lot of trouble. Upon her arrival in New York, she did a magazine layout and was dubbed Baseball’s hottest wife. At the Mets annual Christmas party, the Bensons dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Santa Klaus for the kids. Mrs. Claus was showing a lot of cleavage and dressed very naughty which did not go over to well with the organization. 

She then posed for a spread in Playboy magazine & began playing on the World Series of Poker tour under the name “Gold digger".

Quotes- Anna Benson: Anna appeared on the Howard Stern show saying if she ever caught her husband cheating "I would do everybody in the organization".  After Stern kept pushing the issue she said she said she'd do everyone from bat boys to groundskeepers & coaches. 

Not only was Mrs. Benson very outspoken about sexuality, but she publicly stated her griefs with the Mets organization. 

One issue, which he was vocal about was Oar Minaya the Mets GM. Although it had already been said by many people, Anna claimed Omar Minaya was trying to put together an "All Latino team" by signing as many Latin players as he could.

All these dramas led to the Mets trading the Benson's to the Baltimore Orioles for an unknown pitcher at the time named John Maine. Luckily Maine would have a good couple of pretty years as a Met pitcher. Reliever Jorge Julio also came in the deal but his was a complete failure. 

Post Mets Career: In 2006 for the 4th place Orioles, Benson went 11-12, second to 15 game
winner Erik Bedard. Benson posted a 4.82 ERA striking out 88 batters while walking 58 in 183 innings in 30 starts. 

Beating the Mets & Hitting HR: On June 17th, he returned to Shea Stadium facing Pedro Martinez & the first place Mets in front of 52,320 fans. He had a big night pitching eight innings holding the Mets to two runs in a 4-2 victory. That night he also hit the only HR of his career, a solo shot off Pedro in the 3rd inning.

At the end of the season, it was determined he needed rotator cuff surgery which sidelined him for the whole 2007 season & beyond. The O's didn't pick up his option & he was bought out. The Phillies signed him in 2009 where he played in their minor leagues but was released.

The Texas Rangers gave him a chance in 2009 & he made the team out of Spring Training. On April 10th, he made his first start since 2006 but was hit for eight runs & ten hits in five innings at Detroit. On April 15th he returned to Baltomore & beat the Orioles as Texas scored 19 runs in a 19-6 win, Benson was then placed in the bullpen into June before being sent down with a 1-1 record & a 8.46 ERA.

In 2010 he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks & was named the team’s fifth starter. But he only pitched in three games going 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA. 

Quotes- Kis Benson: "Before surgery I maxed out at 98mph. After surgery I topped out at 90mph."

Career Stats: Benson officially retired in January 2011. In his ten-year career, the former number one pick with such a promising future went 70-75 with a 4.42 ERA. He struck out 806 batters & walked 441 in 1243 innings pitched in 206 appearances (200 starts).

Family: Kris & Anna have three children together. Anna has a daughter from a previous marriage as well.

Anna Benson Dramas: Anna first filed for divorce in 2006 but withdrew her papers after a short time later.  In July of 2012 Kris filed for divorce. Anna then claimed her husband was having an affair with one of her friends. 

In July of 2013 Anna Benson went to Kris' home wearing a bullet proof vest, a loaded ammunition belt & a large knife. She demanded $30,000 & smashed up his computer. Kris called 911 & Anna was arrested & spent four months in jail. In that time, she lost custody of her three children with Kris & was no longer living a luxury life.

Anna always seeking fame, has appeared on VH1s Baseball wives & the Dr. Phil show. Dr. Phil got her into therapy, trying to straighten her out. 

Anna Benson told FOX news: “When Kris left, he left me with three kids, by myself, and he fired pretty much everyone on the staff. I went from living this life of luxury with private chefs and maids and assistants– and then instantly, within days– it was all ripped out from under me. Kris is like, ‘Here you go, here’s the three kids and I’m taking off to New York.’ And that was it.” 

“I’m not blaming Kris for anything; I wish him the best. I love him, I will always love my kids’ dad. I wish him happiness and success, and I apologize for anything that I did in our marriage to hurt him. I’m truly sorry. I never meant to hurt him. I’ve always, always loved him. We’re just not right for each other. 
I’m living in a one-bedroom apartment, I’m shopping at regular stores like Target, Macy’s and Marshall’s. And you know what? I’m happy. I’m really happy. I didn’t need all of that s---. All of that stuff was just a facade. That was not me.”

In 2016 she was once again arrested for trespassing at a home & stealing mail. She then failed to appear in court & sent for mental health help.

Charity Work: The Bensons did a lot of work for charity through their nonprofit organization;
Bensons Battalion which was formed after the 911 attacks. The charity helped children who lost a parent during the Twin Tower collapses. 

The Bensons have donated over three quarters of a million dollars to various charities & have also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Army Forces Central Command in Saudi Arabia.

Honors: Kris Benson has been honored with the Pittsburgh Pirates team Roberto Clemente Award. He was also honored by the Mets the Joan Payson Award, and the New Jersey Sports Writers Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Post Anna: Kris was then in a relationship with Brittany Page, daughter of retired wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.


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