Can't Take The Game Outta The Man
Although Bench retired from Major League baseball, the sport has continued to be an important part of his life. Over the years he has appeared on numerous television programs for the ESPN and Fox Sports networks. For nine years he worked for CBS Radio, broadcasting the National Game of the Week, the All-Star Game, and the League Championship Series. He has also served as a consultant to the Reds, when their catchers need help with their technique. He is the longtime spokesman for Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank and national retailer S&K Menswear. Using his celebrity status to help others, Bench has also often supported medical causes, such as the Heart Association, the American Cancer Society's Athletes vs. Cancer, the Kidney Foundation, and
the American Lung Association. The Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund, which was instituted by the Reds in 1983 to honor Bench's contributions to the team, supports scholar-athletes from Binger, Oklahoma, and from Southwestern Ohio.
In 1989, on the first ballot in which he was eligible, Johnny Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. When Bench was a rookie, he had gotten a baseball signed by the famed hitter Ted Williams. "To Johnny Bench, a Hall of Famer for sure." Williams didn't need a crystal ball to make this prediction—he knew talent when he saw it. Bench's plaque in the Hall of Fame succinctly summarizes his achievements: "Johnny Lee Bench, Cincinnati. N.L., 1967-1983, redefined standards by which catchers are measured during 17 seasons with 'Big Red Machine.' Controlled game on both sides of plate with his hitting (389 homers—record 327 as a catcher, 1,376 RBI's), throwing out opposing base runners, calling pitches and blocking home plate. N.L. MVP, 1970 and 1972. Won 10 Gold Gloves. Last game, 9th inning homer led to 1972 Pennant."
Bench likes to share the secrets of his success. As a public speaker, he promotes the formula for success that has worked so well for him on and off the ball field, which he calls the Vowels of Success: "A is the ATTITUDE that you have to have. The attitude you take to your job. E is the EFFORT and the ENERGY that you have to put into something. You know it really is not that hard to give somebody an honest effort. I is for you as an INDIVIDUAL. Each individual has to have their own responsibility. Even as individuals, we must work together as a team. O is the OPPORTUNITY. The opportunities that will come your way. U is the YOU. You are very special and you always have to treat yourself that way." Bench honed his natural talent through hard work and took advantage of the opportunities that came along, in the process becoming the best catcher of his time and making innovations in catching technique that have served other receivers well to this day.
- Johnny Bench - Selected Writings By Bench:
- Johnny Bench - Career Statistics
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