Thursday, August 18, 2016
#433-434 Johnny Bench
Arguably the best ever at his position...or at least of his time....Bench made this author as a child believe a catcher can be all out dominant force offensively and defensively ...not just a perpetual 8th spot in batting order....or a position where the less talented person plays.... The NL MVP of 1970 and 1972.... The beginnings in Oklahoma draws Mickey Mantle comparisons....drafted 2nd round 1965....Fast forward to 1968, capturing ROY honors and the start of 10 consecutive gold gloves awards....More than a good glove man, he was innovative...catching with one hand sparring the throwing hand from injury...threw lasers to second base .....just got better for next two seasons taking the home run and RBI crown by storm by his third full season....the sky was the limit but during 1971 he experienced his worst year of his career with a drop of 60 BA points and RBIs cut by over one half....Reds went down with him that year...Bench and his Reds resurfaced 1972...Made the cover of Time Magazine 7/10/72....after 1972, retains superstar status with 4 out of 5 great seasons...the one off season, 1976, is redeemed by WS MVP....solid season continued but wear and tear of catching became evident...tried at third in last three seasons which turned him into a liability in the field...Not once what he once was but held his own at the bat...probably could have gone to the AL as a DH but retired as always a Red...easily in the Hall of Fame.