» June 4, 1996:
Pitching dominates the baseball draft as 14 of the first 22 selections are moundsmen. Clemson pitcher Kris Benson is the top choice, going to Pittsburgh, while the Twins pick power hitting Travis Lee from San Diego State as the 2nd choice. The Cards follow with Wichita State P Braden Looper. Picking 14th, the White Sox take lefty Bobby Seay, but will declare him a free agent in August when the can't reach an agreement with his agent, Scott Boras. Lee, John Patterson (Expos), and Matt White (Giants) will also not sign and become free agents: the four will ink contracts with the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks, with White getting a $10.2 bonus, the largest in history. The Marlins use their 1st pick, 9th overall, on college player of the year, Mark Kotsay, and will ink him to a $1,125,000 contract. The Royals take high schooler Dee Brown in the first round. Boston picks Shea Hillenbrand in the 10th round.
» July 20, 1996:
In the opening game at the Olympics, the U.S. team tops Nicaragua, 4–1, behind pitcher Kris Benson.
» August 1, 1996:
In the Olympics, Japan stuns the U.S. team, 11–2 to qualify to play Cuba for the gold. Japan pounds Kris Benson for eight hits and five runs in four innings. Starter Masanori Sugiera scatters six hits in five 2/3 innings for the win. Takeo Kawamura allows no hits in finishing.
» August 11, 1996: Clemson University P Kris Benson becomes the highest paid draft choice ever. He logs on with the Pirates for a $2 million signing bonus.
» April 9, 1999: Pirates rookie Kris Benson beats the Cubs in his first ML start. He's just the second #1 draft pick to win his first start; David Clyde was the other, in 1973.
» July 27, 1999: The Pirates defeat the Mets, 5-1, in the first of Major League Baseball's "Turn Ahead the Clock Nights." Each team wears futuristic uniforms, with the home town squad becoming the "Mercury" Mets for the night. The futuristic theme is carried out throughout the evening, with the scoreboard flashing computerized photos of the players as each comes to the plate. Rickey Henderson, for example, is given three eyes and pointy ears, and plays "left quadrant." Al Martin hits the 1st of his two home runs in the 1st "sector," and rookie Kris Benson goes the distance for the win.
» August 29, 2000:
The Pirates defeat the Giants, 8-0. Barry Bonds' single is the only hit allowed by Kris Benson (8 innings) and Josias Manzanillo (1 inning).
» August 20, 2002: The Pirates shut out the Cardinals, 8–0, on a combined one–hitter hurled by Kris Benson (7 innings), Brian Boehringer (1), and Al Reyes (1). Kerry Robinson's one–out single in the 1st inning is St. Louis' only safety.
» September 22, 2002:
The Pirates beat the Cubs, 5–4, as Kris Benson wins his 5th straight. Fred McGriff hits his 30th home run for the Cubs, setting several marks with the round-tripper. He is the first player to hit 30 homers for five different teams, and it is the 42nd ML park he has homered in, breaking a tie with Ellis Burks at 41.