Best Cincinnati Reds Ever: Johnny Bench v. Johnny Vander Meer

Photo via the Cincinnati Enquirer
Photo via the Cincinnati Enquirer /

Second Round Matchup No. 1 Johnny Bench v. No. 8 Johnny Vander Meer

This is the first of our 16 second round matchup in our “Best Red Ever” tournament. As a result, below is our updated bracket with the results of each first round matchup. After attempting to seed the players in what we felt was the best order possible, each of your votes played a part in six total upsets throughout the 32 Round 1 matchups!

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Johnny Bench’s first round win (95 percent of the vote) over Pedro Borbon in our Best Cincinnati Reds Ever tournament — along with a detailed write-up — can be found here.

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"A second round pick of the Reds in 1965, Bench struggled offensively early on in his career, but had players and scouts raving about his defense. Two years later — as a 19 year old — Bench made his debut in a Reds uniform and quickly became a cog in the Big Red Machine. As a 20-year-old the following season, Bench won the Rookie of the Year award, while earning his first trip to the All-Star Game and his first Gold Glove. And for good measure, he received a handful of MVP votes — again as a 20-year-old."


— ranks first in career home runs (389) with the Reds

— ranks first in career RBIs (1,376) with the Reds

— ranks fourth in career games played (2,158) for the Reds

— ranks fourth in career doubles (381) with the Reds

— 2-time World Series champion with the Reds

— first ballot Hall of Fame inductee

Vander Meer:

Johnny Vander Meer’s first round win (80 percent) over Ewell Blackwell — along with a detailed write-up — can be found here.

"Acquired by the Reds from the Boston Braves in 1935, Vander Meer would make his debut in 1937 and spend the next seven seasons in the Queen City. “The Dutch Master” battled control problems throughout his career (4.8 BB/9), but was still named an All-Star four times as a Red, posting a record of 116-116, 3.41 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in his 11 seasons with the club. His best season came in 1942, when he went 18-12 with a 2.43 ERA and led the majors in strikeouts with 186. Vander Meer was also a part of the Reds’ World Series winning club in 1940, making one relief appearance in Game 5."


— only pitcher in history to throw consecutive no-hitters

— ranks 13th in career wins (116) for the Reds

— ranks seventh in career innings pitched (2,028) for the Reds

— retired as the Reds’ all-time leader in strikeouts (is now tied for fourth)

— was included in the inaugural induction class into the Reds Hall of Fame

Next: Find the tournament breakdown here!

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