Gene Benson

Benson, an all-around performer in the Negro National League, was a 5’8″ 185-lb outfielder who displayed great range in center while popularizing the basket catch. He was a starter on the 1940 and 1946 Eastern all-star squads. While he spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Stars, he was one of the players added to the Washington Elite Giants roster for the 1936 Black Title series with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, which was aborted when each club attempted to replace three defecting regulars. He also played winter ball in Venezuela (1945) and Cuba (1947-48). Available data places his lifetime batting average at more than .300, with a peak mark of .370, fifth-best in the NNL in 1945, when he shared the league lead with 57 hits.