At the 2015 MLB Winter Meetings PBATS announced Joe Benge, Tampa Bay Rays athletic training coordinator, as the winner of the Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year award.
Benge joins Robert Tarpey, the 2014 winner, on the short list of athletic training professionals to be named MiLB athletic trainer of the year.
“Joe is such an enthusiastic and energetic athletic trainer. He wants to learn everything there is to know about this profession. And it’s clear that he has extremely high aspirations and goals within the profession and the game of baseball,” PBATS President Mark O’Neal said. “I don’t think anyone is surprised that Joe won this award. Ron Porterfield and the staff in Tampa are lucky to have him. We all look forward to seeing what Joe accomplishes over the next couple of years.”
Benge graduated from Loyola University in Maryland in 1999, with an undergraduate degree in Biology. He also attended Towson University on a co-op basis for his undergraduate athletic training requirements.
He began his career in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, studying under Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and his staff. While with the Orioles, Benge held athletic training positions with the Bowie Baysox, Delmarva Shorebirds, Aberdeen Ironbirds and the Bluefield Orioles.
After his time in Baltimore, he moved onto the Tampa Bay Rays organization. In 2011, Benge spent the season with the Durham Bulls. He was then promoted within the Rays organization to Minor League Medical Coordinator — a position that he still holds today.
Being named MiLB athletic trainer of the year is a great accomplishment, and certainly one to remember for Benge, but this isn’t the first award that he has received over the course of his athletic training career. In 2007 he earned the Ralph Salvon/Richie Bancells award. And in 2010 Benge was named the Eastern League athletic trainer of the year – Joe Benge is clearly an asset to PBATS and the athletic training profession.