Catch You Later
Strength alone is no real indicator of anything. You must have the reflexes, the agility, the coordination to go along with it. The Reds were once tested on reflex action and I scored the highest on every exercise. That and the size of my hands have helped me a lot. My strength came, I think, from some of the work I did back in Oklahoma. I still remember throwing 100-pound sacks of peanuts onto the trucks until I was ready to drop….
But there have been a lot of strong catchers who have also been bad ones. It takes a lot more than beef. One thing that never fails to make a catcher look bad is the fact that he has to deal with pitchers. That takes a lot more than big hands and a mask. Pitchers are a breed unto themselves.
A catcher has to learn how to get the best out of a pitcher, to let him be himself, go to his strengths, and yet still be effective….
Source: Johnny Bench (with William Brashler). Catch You Later: The Autobiography of Johnny Bench, Harper, 1979, p. 124.
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