Johnny Bench

Baseball Player

Johnny Lee Bench was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 7, 1947 and grew up in the small town of Binger, Oklahoma. His childhood dream was to become a major league baseball player and, under the guidance of his father, decided that the position of catcher was the most direct route to the majors. Taking that advice, he was selected and signed in the 1965 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. After two seasons in the minors, Bench made Cincinnati’s Major League roster for the 1968 season. This marked the beginning of one of the most successful careers in baseball history.

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989, Bench is considered “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher” and was named the starter behind the plate of the All-Century Team. His successes include National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Players (1970, 72), back-to-back World Series Championships with the Big Red Machine (1975, 76), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All-Star, and 10 Gold Gloves.  In 1980, Bench set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons.

Johnny Bench, the small-town Oklahoman who became “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher.”

Program Credits:
Johnny Bench — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: March 28, 2012

Date Published: March 3, 2015

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags: Abe Lemons, Bud Wilkinson, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Mercer, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Bob Hope, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Vin Skully, Jim Shoulders, Toby Keith, Thurman Monson