Johnny Bench

Written by Will Baum
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Johnny Bench is widely thought of as the best catcher baseball has ever seen. Bench was Rookie of the Year in 1968, and the honors kept piling up throughout his career. He was MVP twice, the World Series MVP in 1976. He made the All-Star team an amazing 14 times, and won ten consecutive Gold Gloves. In 1989, Johnny Bench was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 7, 1947, Bench always dreamed of becoming a major leaguer. As a high school player, he earned All-State honors. He took a step toward realizing his dream when he signed to play in the minor leagues in 1965. By 1968, Bench had been bumped up to the majors, and there was no looking back.

Johnny Bench's celebrity extends far beyond baseball. He is a true pop culture icon. He's made countless television appearances, toured with the USO, and authored books. For nine years, he announced the National Game of the Week for CBS Radio. Two things Bench introduced to the majors are now commonplace: The catcher's helmet and the one-handed catch.

Johnny Bench Speaks

Retired from baseball, Johnny Bench discovered a deep enthusiasm for golf, which led to his hosting "Mastering Golf" and "Golf in Paradise" in 1993. His charity and corporate work continue. Today, Bench is a regular on the motivational speaker circuit, boiling down his secrets of achievement in a presentation called "The Vowels of Success."

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