At the age of 19, Johnny recorded 70 assists as a catcher, and led the Buffalo Bisons with 23 home runs and 68 RBIs during the 1967 season. Johnny would later be called up to make his major league debut on August 28, 1967.
The first catcher to ever earn such honors, Johnny caught 154 games in his first full season and made his defensive dominance known early with a .991 Fielding Percentage next to 102 assists. He would also finish 3rd on the team in HRs behind "Big Bopper" Lee May and fellow Hall of Famer Tony Perez, all of whom drove in 80+ RBIs.
With two seasons leading the league in HRs, RBIS and sacrifice flies, while catching 100+ games, Bench joined catching legend Roy Campanella as the only pair of backstops to win multiple Most Valuable Player awards. During both of these season, the Cincinnati Reds would go on to win the National League Championship.
Credited with pioneering the hinged catchers glove, Johnny Bench revolutionized the catcher position with one handed catching. Later, he would be recognized by Rawlings Gold Glove with a Lifetime Achievement Award and named to the All Time Gold Glove Team.