Greatest Reds of All-Time #2

Johnny Bench with Pete Rose (Image: MLB.com Archives)

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.

Year Tm Lg G AB R H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
1967 CIN NL 26 86 7 14 3 1 6 .163 .207 .256 .462
1968 CIN NL 154 564 67 155 40 15 82 .275 .311 .433 .743 AS,MVP-16,RoY-1,GG
1969 CIN NL 148 532 83 156 23 26 90 .293 .353 .487 .840 AS,MVP-13,GG
1970 CIN NL 158 605 97 177 35 45 148 .293 .345 .587 .932 AS,MVP-1,GG
1971 CIN NL 149 562 80 134 19 27 61 .238 .299 .423 .722 AS,GG
1972 CIN NL 147 538 87 145 22 40 125 .270 .379 .541 .920 AS,MVP-1,GG
1973 CIN NL 152 557 83 141 17 25 104 .253 .345 .429 .774 AS,MVP-10,GG
1974 CIN NL 160 621 108 174 38 33 129 .280 .363 .507 .870 AS,MVP-4,GG
1975 CIN NL 142 530 83 150 39 28 110 .283 .359 .519 .878 AS,MVP-4,GG
1976 CIN NL 135 465 62 109 24 16 74 .234 .348 .394 .741 AS,GG
1977 CIN NL 142 494 67 136 34 31 109 .275 .348 .540 .889 AS,MVP-21,GG
1978 CIN NL 120 393 52 102 17 23 73 .260 .340 .483 .823 AS
1979 CIN NL 130 464 73 128 19 22 80 .276 .364 .459 .824 AS,MVP-23
1980 CIN NL 114 360 52 90 12 24 68 .250 .327 .483 .810 AS,MVP-17
1981 CIN NL 52 178 14 55 8 8 25 .309 .369 .489 .858
1982 CIN NL 119 399 44 103 16 13 38 .258 .320 .396 .716
1983 CIN NL 110 310 32 79 15 12 54 .255 .308 .432 .741 AS
17 Seasons 2158 7658 1091 2048 381 389 1376 .267 .342 .476 .817
162 Game Avg. 162 575 82 154 29 29 103 .267 .342 .476 .817
G AB R H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Awards
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/5/2011.

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

Tags: Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds Golf Greatest Reds Of All-Time Hall Of Fame Johnny Bench Pete Rose World Series

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