Johnny Bench was born in Oklahoma with a childhood dream to become a major league baseball player. 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 Player (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.
Over the years, Johnny has maintained a sense of balance by using his celebrity status to aid such worthy causes as the Heart Association, the American Cancer Society (as past National Chairman of Athletes vs. Cancer), the Kidney Foundation, Franciscan Sisters of Poor Health System, Autism Speaks, USA Cares, the American Lung Association, and the ‘Catch the Cure’ program of the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati. He also supports the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Museum of Science and Industry in addition to the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund, which provides funds for students to attend college in the Cincinnati area.
Johnny’s national broadcasting background includes nine years with CBS Radio broadcasting the National Game of the Week, the All-Star Game, the League Championship Series and the World Series as well as play-by-play on Reds’ television.