Kristopher James Benson (born November 7, 1974 in Superior, Wisconsin) is a Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who is currently a free agent. Benson pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997 to 2004, New York Mets from 2004 to 2005, and Baltimore Orioles in 2006.
Benson attended Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia and graduated in 1993 with honors.
Benson attended Clemson University from 1993 to 1996. He won Dick Howser Trophy for the National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and the Rotary Smith Award in 1996 and still holds many school pitching records. His teammates included fellow future major-leaguers Billy Koch and Matthew LeCroy both of whom played with him in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, USA where they won the bronze medal. He also was honored as the ACC Male Athlete of the Year in 1996.
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Benson was the first pick of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. His best season came in 2000 with Pittsburgh when he posted career bests in earned run average, strikeouts, innings pitched, and games pitched as well as his only double-digit strikeout games and his career-best three-hit complete game despite the fact that he is a groundball pitcher. After 2000, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2001 season. The New York Mets acquired him near the trading deadline of the 2004 season. On January 21, 2006, Benson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine. Benson missed the entire 2007 season with a torn rotator cuff.  The Orioles agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Steve Trachsel, who replaced Benson in their starting rotation, before being traded to the Chicago Cubs for minor league players. On November 1, 2007, the Orioles released him as a free agent by declining to pick up his $7.5 million option and by paying a $500,000 buyout.
On February 13, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Benson to a minor league deal.  On June 29, 2008, Benson made his Triple-A debut for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, throwing 73 pitches. He played 11 games for the IronPigs, but was 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA. He was released on August 30.
Benson is married to Anna Benson, who was a mildly controversial figure during Benson's New York years due to her public statements . The Bensons have 3 children and have founded the non-profit organization, Benson's Battalion.
- Mandel, Ken (2008-02-13). Benson agrees to Minor League deal; Veteran right-hander hoping to be ready for Opening Day. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- Chass, Murray. "Living on High Wire to Stay Alive", New York Times, 2006-10-19. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Official Website
|First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft