Benigno Ayala Felix (born February 7, 1951 in Yauco, Puerto Rico) is a former Major League Baseball player who had a 10-season career from 1974 to 1985. He played outfield, first base, and designated hitter. He played for the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals both of the National League and the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians both of the American League.
Ayala made his major league debut as the Mets' starting left fielder at Shea Stadium on August 27, 1974. With one out and the bases empty, he hit a home run in his first at bat off the Houston Astros' Tom Griffin to open a three-run rally in the bottom of the second inning in a 4–2 Mets victory. Wearing uniform number 18 and strictly a corner outfielder, Ayala played in only 45 games with the Mets (23 in 1974, 22 in 1976). After spending 1974 with New York, he spent 1975 in the minors, 1976 with the New York Mets, then was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Doug Clarey. Just before the 1979 season, he was traded again to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Dimmel. With Baltimore, Ayala routinely platooned with Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein.
Ayala appeared in two World Series with Baltimore. In 1979, he belted a two-run homer in the Orioles' Game 3 win over the Pirates. In 1983, he made one pinch-hitting appearance against the Phillies. He singled home the tying run in Game 3 and later scored the winning run.
- ^ New York Mets 4, Houston Astros 2; Tuesday, August 27, 1974 (N) at Shea Stadium (box score) – Retrosheet.
- ^ Benny Ayala (uniform numbers worn) – Mets by the Numbers.
- ^ Benny Ayala (statistics & history) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- ^ Steve Wulf (July 12, 1982). "The Orioles' three-player platoon in leftfield has been a - 07.12.82 - SI Vault". Si.com. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
By Dean Hanley
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