1.30.2013

Mike Benjamin, 1992 Upper Deck


Name: Mike "Lil' Hands" Benjamin
Team: New York Giants, circa 1892
Position: Second basetender
Value of card: 25-cent Civil War-era fractional currency
Key 1892 stat: 27 "tallies" at home base
The Legend of "Lil' Hands": Mike Benjamin was born in a pepper patch in Monks Hammock, La., to a mother who spit with a Cajun accent and a sailor who died of scurvy two weeks after the birth. Mike grew up chasing metal rings with sticks and catching rodents with only his cunning and the raccoon meat he'd secretly regurgitate after his small supper meals. He also grew up alone. The other children who lived in Louisiana houses of sin and back-country caves shunned him because his hands stopped growing at age 4. Benjamin tried to have fun, playing make-believe games with tree stumps and pretending the regurgitated balls of raccoon meat were his friends. Then, he found a new game, "base (pause) ball," played with a round ball, a round bat and a lot of chewing tobacco. He flourished, despite his tiny hands, often playing rover and hitting many a pluck. But, despite his years of success, a keen eye could still catch Benjamin glancing down at his tiny glove with a single tear in his eye and loneliness close at hand.
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