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Former Blue Wahoos Pitcher, Gulf Breeze's Ben Lively, Gets New MLB Opportunity 

Ben Lively appeared in 13 games for the Blue Wahoos in the 2014 season and remains the only Pensacola area player to play for the Blue Wahoos in franchise history. (Photo courtesy of Pensacola News Journal)
December 12, 2023

Ben Lively is getting a chance to pitch for his fourth different Major League team, the latest being the team which originally drafted him in 2010 after his senior year at Gulf Breeze High. The Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday signed Lively, 31, to a Major League Baseball contract, adding him

Ben Lively is getting a chance to pitch for his fourth different Major League team, the latest being the team which originally drafted him in 2010 after his senior year at Gulf Breeze High.

The Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday signed Lively, 31, to a Major League Baseball contract, adding him to their 40-man roster. It provides a performance opportunity for Lively during spring training to be part of Cleveland’s opening day roster for the 2024 season.

The club provided a one-year contract that gives Lively the chance to compete for a spot in the Guardian’s starting rotation. It was more than 13 years ago when Cleveland made Lively a 26th round pick, after his final high school season with the Gulf Breeze Dolphins.

Lively opted for college baseball, where he had success at the University of Central Florida and the 6-foot-4 righthander greatly improved his draft value that led to the Cincinnati Reds taking him as fourth round pick in 2013.

A year later, Lively was elevated to Double-A and joined the Blue Wahoos in the second half of the 2014 season. He remains the only Pensacola area player to wear a Blue Wahoos uniform in games at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Ben Lively made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in June 2017 after being named organization's pitcher of year in 2016.Photo courtesy of Pensacola News Journal

The Reds then traded Lively to the Philadelphia Phillies and he made his MLB debut on June 3, 2017 as a starting pitcher for the Phillies.

From that point, Lively has appeared in 45 MLB games, including 32 starts. He’s pitched for the Phillies (20 games), the Kansas City Royals (6 games) and returned to the Reds in 2023 to appear in 19 games.

He also pitched in parts of three seasons (2019-2021) with the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Lively was 4-7 last season with the Reds with a 5.38 earned run average, but it is skewed by one rough outing on Aug. 1 when he allowed 13 runs against the Chicago Cubs. He went 4-0 in seven games with the Louisville Bats, the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate.

He pitched the second half of last season with a heavy heart when his grandfather, Jim Lively, who helped teach him how to play baseball as a toddler, then became such a big part of his youth league baseball days, passed away at age 81.

Lively has won organization awards with two different teams. He was the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award winner in 2014 as the Reds Minor League Player of the Year. He was named in 2016 winner of the Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system.