Johnny Bench signed with the Cincinnati Reds in the 1965 draft. He made the major league roster the next year, and has been one of baseball's best catchers.
Johnny Bench was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 7, 1947 and grew up in the small town of Binger, Oklahoma. Johnny's childhood dream was to become a major league baseball player and his father counseled that the position of catcher was the most direct route to that goal. Taking that advice, he was selected and signed in the 1965 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. After two seasons in the minors, Bench made Cincinnati's Major League roster for the 1968 season. This marked the beginning of one of the most successful careers in baseball and to Johnny's ascension as a celebrity.
Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989, Bench is undoubtedly the greatest catcher ever. His honors include National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Player (1970 & 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All-Star, and 10 Gold Gloves. In 1980, Bench set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons. Late in 1998, Johnny was named the 16th greatest player of all time by The Sporting News.
Over the years, Johnny has used his celebrity status to aid such worthy causes as the Cincinnati Symphony, Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Kidney Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy, Franciscan Sisters of Poor Health System. He also started and maintained the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund, which to date has provided funds for 275 students to attend college in the Cincinnati area.
Johnny has spent quite some time in entertainment also, logging thousands of hours in personal appearances on TV and such events as touring with Bob Hope Christmas Shows and also visiting troops in the Far East and Desert Storm. He has also sung with the Cincinnati Pops, authored books, and was the host of the Emmy Award-winning instructional show "The Baseball Bunch".
Johnny's vast broadcasting background includes nine years with CBS Radio broadcasting the National Game of the Week, the All-Star Game, the League Championship Series and the World Series as well as time spent with the Reds baseball and the baseball networks. He continues into his thirteenth year as a co-host of a daily in-season radio show on the Reds Radio Network.
Johnny's passion for golf has grown and spread into business opportunities including hosting Mastering Golf and Golf in Paradise on cable and in 1993, Johnny began participating in the celebrity Golf and Celebrity Players Tours which features current and former athletes playing top courses throughout the country Johnny's corporate involvement is evident in long term spokesman relationships with the Cincinnati based Fifth Third Bank and National Retailer, S&K Menswear.
Johnny is a symbol of winning through hard work and teamwork as outlined in his presentation featuring "The Vowels of Success" which highlights easy to remember motivational tips.