Johnny was told by his father at a young age that catching was the surest way to the major leagues. From a rural town in Oklahoma, this valedictorian of Binger High School and All State Basketball player would go on to be considered “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher”, leading the Cincinnati Reds to back-to-back World Series Championships.
As a member of the Big Red Machine through the 1970’s, Bench revolutionized the catching position in many ways and set the standard for future generations of backstops by earning 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. A strong arm and durable build made him a formidable defender behind the plate, but his at bats made him that much more dangerous as he would collect 389 home runs and 1,376 RBIs, which both stand as franchise records in Cincinnati.
Bench retired in 1983, leaving behind one of the most prolific careers ever established by a catcher, setting a course for Cooperstown where he would be inducted on his first ballot to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Success did not end on the field, as he would establish numerous business ventures, charitable initiatives and entertainment appearances, all of which he continues to pursue today. He now resides in Southern Florida with his two sons Justin and Josh, but always takes time to support organizations such as Hope for the Warriors, Police Benevolent Association, Bobby Nichols Foundation and more.
In the heart of Grapefruit League Spring Training, he remains involved in the game visiting many organizations and mentoring the next catchers of our national pastime. Each year he makes an effort to attend both the Reds and National Hall of Fame inductions, serving as a continued ambassador of the game.
Johnny Bench holding his statue located at Great American Ballpark
On October 22-23, Johnny will be hosting the next installment of the Johnny Bench Golf Classic at PGA National on the Champion Course, home of the Honda Classic. Register today!
Congratulation to the 2020 College and High School Johnny Bench Award winners, including Patrick Bailey and Morganne Flores. Presented by Ohio’s 529 Plan CollegeAdvantage.
As of the 2019 season, Johnny will now be presenting his annual college catcher of the year award in Cincinnati, along with adding softball & high school.