Johnny Bench

Johnny Lee Bench
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1989
Primary team: Cincinnati Reds
Primary position: Catcher

“The way I see it, the first thing you want in a catcher is the ability to handle the pitchers. Then you want defensive skill, and, of course, the good arm. Last of all, if he can hit with power, well, then you’ve got a Johnny Bench.” – Frank Cashen.

Johnny Bench, raised in the tiny town of Binger, Okla., was taught catching at an early age by his father. Making his major league debut in 1967 at the age of 19, he would go on to play his entire 17-year big league career (1967-83) with the Reds, rewriting the standards for catchers.

As the leader of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of the 1970s, in which he helped the franchise to four National League pennants and two World Series titles, the rugged and durable Bench was a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner as the result of his skilled handling of pitchers, unparalleled defensive skills and a lightning quick throwing arm that would intimidate would-be base runners. He led the NL in caught stealing percentage three times and putouts twice.

Bench also provided a potent bat, hitting 389 home runs and leading the league in RBI three times and homers twice. Highly honored during his career, Bench won the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year, was a two-time NL MVP (1970 and 1972) and 14-time All-Star. He won the 1976 World Series MVP Award as the Reds completed their back-to-back run of titles.

“I don’t want to embarrass any other catchers by comparing him with Johnny Bench,” said Reds manager Sparky Anderson.

Bench was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.

"Every time Bench throws, everybody in baseball drools. "
Harry Dalton

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1989
Primary Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position Played: Catcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Birth year: 1947
Played for:
Cincinnati Reds (1967-1983)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2158
At BatsAB
7658
RunsR
1091
HitsH
2048
Doubles2B
381
Triples3B
24
Home RunsHR
389
RBIRBI
1376
Stolen BasesSB
68
WalksBB
891
Batting AverageBA
.267
OPSOPS
.817
On Base %OBP
.342
Slugging %SLG
.476