Of all the positions in baseball, the catcher's is the most physically demanding, so their longevity is limited. Bench suffered from various injuries throughout his career. "I had 15, 16 broken bones and seven broken cups," he once told a Houston Chronicle reporter. In 1978 Bench suffered another back injury at home plate and a few days later broke a bone in his foot. For several years, he played in constant pain and his numbers showed it. The team's fortunes dimmed too as key players became free agents and left the team. In 1981 Bench asked to be moved to another position. For awhile he played first base, then third. Finally, when the Reds finished in last place in 1983, the Big Red Machine ground to a halt and Bench retired.