Hall of Famer Johnny Bench Offers Advice to H.S. Prospects

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jun 2, 2011 1:13 PM CDT

Oklahoma Sports Staff

TULSA, Okla.—Former Cincinnati Reds player and Binger, Okla. native Johnny Bench visited Tulsa Thursday and visited with Oklahoma Sports about some of the standout high school baseball talent Oklahoma continues to produce.

Bench, who was born in Oklahoma City and grew up in Binger, was drafted in the 1965 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds as a catcher. After two seasons in the minors, he moved up to the Cincinnati’s Major league roster for the 1968 season.

In 1989, Bench was elected to the Baseball hall of fame and in 1998 he was named the greatest catcher ever by the Sporting News.

One of the main points Bench stressed to young major league prospects was to find a good mentor and surround yourself with that person as well as other supportive and quality people.

Thursday, Bench visited the Oklahoma Surgical Hospital and met with joint replacement patients to educate them on the benefits of having joint replacement.

His successes include National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Players (1970 & 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14 time All-Star, and 10 Gold Gloves. Inc 1980, Bench set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons.

In 1999, Bench received baseball’s esteemed honor of being selected to the All Century Team.

Bench received his first hip replacement in 2004 and his second hip replacement in 2010. He travels around the United States and shares his hip replacement experience with patients. He encourages them to do their physical therapy and follow their doctor’s instructions and he typically hands them an autographed baseball.