Bench’s excellence wraps up Reds’ second straight title
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In the final game of the World Series, Bench’s two-run home run down the left field line at Yankee Stadium turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 Reds lead in the fourth inning. Then in the ninth – with the Reds clinging to a 3-2 lead – Bench hit a three-run home run to left, scoring Tony Pérez and Dan Driessen and effectively clinching the Reds’ second straight championship.
Following the game, Anderson drew the ire of Yankees catcher Thurman Munson – who hit .529 in the World Series – when he responded to a question about Munson by saying: “Don’t ever embarrass a man by comparing him to Johnny Bench.”
Anderson quickly qualified his remark, saying: “I’m sorry Thurman Munson took what I said the wrong way.”
But many who watched Bench’s performance in the World Series – and throughout his career – felt Anderson had been right on the money.
“You’re always going to be among greater or lesser people than yourself,” Bench told columnist Jim Murray following the game. “But you conduct yourself the same way.”
Bench was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 following a 17-year career that produced 389 home runs, 14 All-Star Game selections and 10 Gold Glove Awards.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum