Buff Biographies: Ben Steiner

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Ben Steiner 1951 Houston Buffs

Ben Steiner
1951 Houston Buffs

Second baseman Ben Steiner (5’11”, 165 lb) (BL/TR) was born in Alexandria, Virginia on July 28, 1921.. He broke into minor league baseball at the age of 19 in 1941 with Class C Canton, batting .295 with 0 HR in 49 games before up to Class B Greensboro that same year and hitting .206 with no HR in 8 games.

Over the course of his 11 season minor league career (1941-51), Ben Steiner hit a respectable .272 with 19 home runs. The Buffs were his last professional game stop in 1951 and he batted .262 with a single homer in  130 games at second base for the Texas League champion Buffs that season. Steiner also had played for another champion at AAA Columbus with other former Buffs like Larry Miggins and Solly Hemus. The 1950 Columbus Red Birds were winners of the Little World Series that season.

Steiner also played three earlier seasons in the big league with the Boston Red Sox (1945-46) and the Detroit Tigers (1947). His play was limited to 82 games with 78 of those coming at Boston in 1945. He only picked up 4 at bats in 3 games with the 1946 AL champion Red Sox playing behind future Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr and 1 game for the 145 Tigers. Ben Steiner’s MLB career totals included a .256 batting average and 3 home runs.

For whatever reason, Ben Steiner was through with professional baseball at the end of his 1951 Houston Buffs season. At age 30, he retired to pack his dreams away into the regular 9 to 5 work crowd.

Ben Steiner, Utility 1945 Boston Red Sox

Ben Steiner, Utility
1945 Boston Red Sox

Ben still valued his time in baseball.  As the assistant county clerk of Middlesex County, New Jersey during the 1970’s, Steiner wore his championship ring from the 1950 Little Word Series team from Columbus, Ohio.

We don’t much about Steiner’s personal life beyond his baseball career, but we do know that he died at a relatively young age. Ben Steiner passed away in Venice, Florida on October 27, 1988 at the age of 67.

As a kid, I always liked Ben Steiner. When his early season average hovered above .300 well into June, my 12-year old mind wanted to give the bespectacled  second sacker credit for out-thinking the Texas League pitchers who were trying their best to keep him off the bases. In fact, in my own little world of private baseball ideas, I always thought of Ben Steiner by the phrase that most of baseball already had assigned to Dom DiMaggio. To me, Ben was  “The Real Little Professor”.

I remember being disappointed that Steiner did not return to the Buffs for the 1952 season, but I wish I knew more today about his reasons for quitting at age 30. Maybe it was injury. Maybe it was the fact that  he realized he had gone about as far as he could go in the game by that time.. Maybe some other opportunity away from baseball looked more attractive to him.

Who knows? I will now post “whatever happened to Ben Steiner after 1951?” as another question I’d like to know more about. If you have any data on that subject, please post it below as a comment.

Meanwhile. “R.I.P., Ben Steiner! – My Buff memories of you are golden!”

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3 Responses to “Buff Biographies: Ben Steiner”

  1. Benjamin Steiner Says:

    Well, I am his grandson. I don’t know much about him as I was 3 years old when he passed. Please contact me so we can pick each others’ brains..

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