Bentz to be inducted into Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Dec 14, 2018
Former Major League Baseball player Chad Bentz of Juneau will be the first baseball player inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Bentz and Olympic trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein of Eagle River were the lone selections from the people category for the Class of 2019 and will be joined by the Alaska Run for Women from the event category and Kodiak’s upset of perennial powerhouse East Anchorage in the 2001 high school state title game from the moment category.
This will be the 13th class to be honored by the Hall, which uses a process a based on votes from the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame selection panel, past inductees and the public.
“We’re very pleased with the choices that came out of the selection process,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. “Alaska is such a diverse state with a rich sports culture and this group reflects that.”
The Class of 2019 will be honored at a banquet in April at the Anchorage Museum.
Here is a closer look at the Class of 2019:
No Alaska athlete did more with less than Bentz.
He became only the second person to play Major League Baseball after being born without one of his hands when he made his debut on April 7, 1994.
“I played baseball when I was younger, and got made fun of,” Bentz said in 2004. “I didn’t like going because all they did was make fun of me. So, I didn’t play anymore. Then I saw Jim Abbott. He gave me the will to at least try playing again.”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound left-hander pitched in 40 career MLB games, more than any other player from Alaska. He played for the Montreal Expos in 2004 and the Florida Marlins in 2005.
Bentz – one of three Alaskans to play in the big leagues – finished 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 29.2 innings.
Arguably his most impressive achievement is the fact that he’s the only Alaskan with a MLB base hit.
“Not bad for a boy who overcame many obstacles he faced in his life, both geographical and physical,” Bentz said.
Bentz, 38, played nine years in the minor leagues and racked up an 11-20 record with 23 saves in 195 appearances, almost all in relief.
After his baseball career ended in 2010, he played a season of college football at NCAA D3 Castleton State in Vermont. He was a fullback and carried the ball 12 times and scored two touchdowns.
He is now the head baseball coach at his alma mater of Juneau-Douglas High School and guided the Crimson Bears to the ASAA 2018 state championship.