The second greatest Red of all-time is….Johnny Bench.
Bench came into the big leagues as a Cincinnati Red and he never left. He played his entire 17 year career in Cincinnati and is the Reds all-time leader in home runs and RBI.
A listing of Bench’s accomplishments would include: 1968 NL Rookie of the Year, a part of two World Series Championships, 10 Gold Gloves, 14-time NL All-Star, and 2-time NL MVP.
Bench’s best two seasons came in 1970 and 1972 as he pounded 45 and 40 homers respectively. In both of those seasons he also led the National League in RBI with 148 in 1970 and 125 in 1972. Bench won ten gold gloves in a row from 1968 to 1977, and he is widely considered one of the best defensive catchers of all time. Bench was the anchor of the Big Red Machine and one of the game’s best handlers of a pitching staff.
|162 Game Avg.||162||575||82||154||29||29||103||.267||.342||.476||.817|
Bench was drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1965 amateur draft (Baseball Reference), and appeared in the big leagues later as a 19 year old. The next year he won NL Rookie of the Year as he hit 15 home runs and 82 RBI.
In 1999, The Sporting News declared him the 16th best baseball player ever. That is quite an honor to be in the top 20 in all of baseball’s over 120 year history. Bench was the highest rated catcher on that list.
In 1976, as the Reds attempted to repeat as World Series champs, Bench was the Babe Ruth award winner, and World Series MVP as he batted .533 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI.
Bench finished his career with 389 HR, 1,376 RBI, 2,048 hits and a .267 career batting average. He would later become a professional golfer. In 1989, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The greatest Red of all time will be revealed next Wednesday