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Johnny Bench

National Baseball Hall of Famer

Named the greatest catcher in baseball history by ESPN, Johnny Bench boasts a wide range of accomplishments. These triumphs include winning ten consecutive golden glove awards and being capable of holding seven baseballs in one hand.
A lifelong Cincinnati Reds player, Bench was recognized as a 14-time All-Star and a two-time World Series Champion. His success on the field began early and continued throughout his 16 years of playing. In his rookie season in 1968, Bench was recognized as the National League’s Rookie of the Year. That season, and the subsequent nine seasons, Bench was honored as a Golden Glove recipient. In that time, he was also named the youngest National League MVP of all time and the World Series MVP in 1976.
In Bench’s years since baseball, his signature number, “5” was retired in Cincinnati. He was also inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, his first year of eligibility, with 96.4% of the votes. In the late 90s, Bench was named to both the All-Century and All-Time MLB teams.
After his retirement, Bench moved on to various charity work and broadcasting. Although his playing days in the MLB were over, his connection to baseball was unwavering. Bench began to broadcast baseball games on CBS Radio; he appeared on PBS’ Emmy Award-winning show The Baseball Bunch and was given his own show on the Cincinnati Reds network.
Bench’s broadcasting career has also expanded to fit his growing interests. A lover of golf and a competitive force in various celebrity pro-am tournaments and the PGA Champions Tour, Bench signed a deal working with multiple shows on the Golf Channel. His interest for golf has also been evident in some of his charity work. Bench is a host for the Children’s Charity Golf Classic, an annual event that has supported the Children’s Charity Fund of the Bluegrass for the past 30+ years. The Children’s Charity Fund of the Bluegrass is an organization that provides a wide range of services for disabled children. Bench is also involved in other charities as a supporter and spokesperson; including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Kidney Foundation and many others. Bench also started the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund which provides funding for students to attend college in the Cincinnati area.
Over the course of his career, Bench has been honored with many prestigious awards. Some notable honors include being a recipient of the Babe Ruth Award, the Lou Gehrig Award, and the Hutch Award. These awards are given to players who excel in the playoffs, display integrity both on and off the field, and show a fighting spirit and love of competition. Named after Bench, The Johnny Bench Award was established in 2000 and is given to the best catcher in NCAA Division I baseball every season.
Bench’s career began in the small town of Binger, Oklahoma. It was in Binger that Bench started to hone his baseball skills. His father encouraged him to be the best and helped him practice. This practice included Bench throwing 254 feet (twice the distance from home plate to second base) from his knees. Bench learned quickly and was a huge success on his high school baseball team. He also starred on the school’s basketball team and was named valedictorian of his senior class.
National Baseball Hall of Famer

Named the greatest catcher in baseball history by ESPN, Johnny Bench boasts a wide range of accomplishments. These triumphs include winning ten consecutive golden glove awards and being capable of holding seven bas...
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