Is AAA Phenom Slated for August Call-Up?

The last time a 15-year-old played in the major leagues, the United States was involved in World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt was President, and the Browns were in first place in the American League. That 15-year-old was Joe Nuxhall, and he pitched 2/3 of an inning for the Cincinnati Reds in 1944, during a time when major league rosters were suffering shortages due to the multitudes of players being called into action during wartime.

Now, over thirty years later, another 15-year-old has an opportunity to play for a major league team. Todd Benefiel, a shortstop in the St Louis Cardinals farm system, has recently moved up from the AA Arkansas Travelers to the AAA Springfield Redbirds, where in just 18 games with the American Association club he’s batting .352, with 19 hits, 22 RBI, a whopping 29 stolen bases, and a solid glove playing the left half of the team’s keystone combo.

“He’s amazing,” says Redbirds second baseman Tom Herr, the other half of the combo. “The guy can’t wait to turn a double play, and for me, it’s not only a treat to take a throw from him, but to feed him one a well.”

The question now is, do the last-place Cardinals promote Benefiel to the Senior Circuit? And if so, when? His presence would undoubtedly help the Cards’ sagging attendance at Busch Memorial Stadium, and though regular St Louis shortstop Garry Templeton is batting .337, and is in no danger of losing his starting job, he could also use some late-inning rest…a perfect opportunity for the teenager from Sandusky, Ohio to get some major league experience.

Originally, the plan was to have Benefiel start the September 10th game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, which would’ve been his only appearance of the season, but now, team management is considering an August 1st call-up. “I’d love to spend August and September with the Cardinals,” said Benefiel recently before a Redbirds game at Lanphier Park. “Besides the thrill of playing baseball with a great bunch of guys, I’d also get to miss a month of school.”

And with that, the SP78 Replay website would like your feedback. Should the Cards bring Benefiel to the parent club on August 1st, where he’ll stay for the remainder of the SP78 season, serving as an occasional starter and back-up to Templeton, a pinch-hitter when needed, and a pinch-runner when some speed on the basepaths is called for? Or should he just play in that one game in September, and leave the publicity stunts and circus atmosphere to Bill Veeck and the White Sox?

Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think: is putting myself into the SP78 season as a player for two months a fun idea, or a dumb one? Before you make your decision, check out my Statis Pro card below, with numbers based on my 19-game Continental League season with the 1978 California First Bank Cardinals, and calculated using the actual formula used to create real Statis Pro player cards. Who knows, with a card like that, I might become a force to be reckoned with.

Todd Benefiel SP Card

8 responses to “Is AAA Phenom Slated for August Call-Up?

  1. I’d say, “Yes”, call the young man up. Bring him along slowly – maybe as a pinch runner, late inning defense, pinch hitter, start in the 2nd game of a double header, etc. At 24½ games out, even if it goes poorly, it’s not going to cost the Cards a postseason bid. And if they rally to win the division, maybe Sean Astin can play the kid in the new baseball biopic Judy (as in “Punch and Judy”). Does Templeton have any games played at 3rd? Maybe he’d move over to make room for the youngster.

    • Thanks for the vote! My friend Brent voted ‘yes’ as well, so it’s 2-0 in favor of bringing me up August 1st. And I will indeed start myself out slowly…to add more drama to the screenplay of my biopic! Templeton played 155 games at short in ’78, and none at third base, so switching him over is a no-go; besides, Ken Reitz might get sore about being replaced, since he played 150 games at third that season. And you know what’s cool? I just checked the Cardinals schedule, and on August 1st they start a three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field!

      Wait, did you just call me a ‘Punch and Judy’ hitter?

  2. Did you ever notice that your SP78 card (above) sort of resembles a concrete poem of a Cubs’ “C”, the arch-rival of the Cardinals? Or am I reading too much into things? Actually, I’m just commenting because there are only 4 days left until this young prospect gets his call from the “show”, and I’m hoping that some of the other SP78 fans will show their support by commenting on this article. Butterboy44?

    • Again, I think everyone else, including Butterboy44, is too busy with the Candy Land site to worry about my trivial little baseball venture. But I appreciate you stopping by again, and showing your support for my namesake #13. Both you and Brent will be receiving free tickets to the August 3rd game courtesy of SP78…which at the current rate of play should take place a little over a year from now.

      And yes, you are reading too much into the layout of my SP78 card; it’s actually a broken ‘O’, which stands for Orioles, the home of my role model at short, Mark Belanger.

  3. Come to think of it, I do remember you carving “MB7” into the dirt whenever you played shortstop in softball . . . and don’t sell me “short”, I’ve got enough time for both this site AND the Candy Land site. Heck, I even visit “Chutes and Ladders” now and then.

  4. I JUST NOW read this post. Bring the precocious little git up to the show. I’d like to see if he can do some damage. None of this pinch runner crap, throw him into the deep end, see if he floats.

    Also, leave him up for the rest of the season. Since this is response is soooooo late, I’m sure he’s already played some. How’s he doing?

    • Thanks for the input, Gooser! He won’t get the call-up until August 1st, and with Lou Brock becoming permanently stationed in left field, I’ll decide then which outfielder gets sent down to Springfield to make room for the baseball prodigy. I’m still on July 28th, so it’ll be a few more SP78 days before this happens…translated to human years, probably sometime in late-2014. I’m hoping to use him/me quite a bit as a late-inning defensive replacement for Templeton, but don’t worry, Benefiel will get some starts, too. I see a steal attempt of home in his future as well.

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