Vintage Collector – February-March 2023
English | 117 pages | pdf | 108.27 MB
Welcome at Vintage Collector Magazine February-March 2023 Issue
So significant is Johnny Bench in baseball history that he marks time. There is pre-Bench, and there is post-Bench. And then there is the man himself, who says he just hopes to be remembered as someone who (‘left a positive impression on the game:’ Did he ever. Bench helped revolutionize the game’s most demanding position, making
the difficult look easy while possessing an arm few dared run on. He brought the one-handed catching technique to the forefront. Others tried it, with varying levels of success. None of the others handled it as flawlessly as Bench. He made it an art form.
At the plate, he slugged at least 40 home runs twice and led the majors in RBI three times. He and Tony Perez were the big bats coming behind Pete Rose and Joe Morgan. Bench could hurt you in so many ways and was the big wheel in the Big Red Machine.
Baseball has seen some great catchers over the years – Yogi Berra, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter, Josh Gibson, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina to name a few – but the Benchmark remains Johnny.
Pre-Bench and Post-Bench.
Those are the two categories that every other catcher – however great they may have been – fall into. Because nobody else has ever played the position quite like Johnny Bench.
Mike Payne Editorial Director