Daily Archives: December 7, 2011

Johnny Bench’s Highly Collectible 1968 Topps Rookie Card

Johnny Bench’s Highly Collectible 1968 Topps Rookie Card

I don’t know a single collector that would turn down a chance to own a Johnny Bench rookie card.

I also don’t know a single collector that has one.

And now that I really think about it, I cannot say that I have ever seen one of these beauties from the 1968 set in person.

Lucky for me the internet offers us opportunities to sit back and drool over what we cannot have.

And this is one of those situations…

Nice, Very Nice!!!

Johnny Bench And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1989

Johnny Bench And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1989

One of the most obvious choices for first ballot entry into the Hall of Fame, Johnny Bench’s baseball resume looks like a blue-print for induction at Cooperstown.

A Rookie of the Year winner, multiple time All-Star, multiple time Gold Glove winner, 2-time MVP, and 2-time World Series Champion, Bench did it all during his remarkable 17-season major league career.

So, where does he rank in the voter’s eyes?

Good question, huh?  I’ll tell you where he ranks…  it’s right here!!!  Below is a chart that shows you the highest voting percentages for Hall of Fame induction in the history of the game… 

Rank Player Year Ballots Votes % Position
1 Tom Seaver 1992 430 425 98.84% P
2 Nolan Ryan 1999 497 491 98.79% P
3 Cal Ripken, Jr. 2007 545 537 98.53% SS
4 Ty Cobb 1936 226 222 98.23% CF
5 George Brett 1999 497 488 98.19% 3B
6 Hank Aaron 1982 415 406 97.83% RF
7 Tony Gwynn 2007 545 532 97.61% RF
8 Mike Schmidt 1995 460 444 96.52% 3B
9 Johnny Bench 1989 447 431 96.42% C
10 Steve Carlton 1994 455 436 95.82% P
11 Babe Ruth 1936 226 215 95.13% RF
11 Honus Wagner 1936 226 215 95.13% SS
13 Willie Mays 1979 432 409 94.68% CF
14 Carl Yastrzemski 1989 447 423 94.63% LF
15 Bob Feller 1962 160 150 93.75% P

So, now we know the answer to that question:  Johnny Bench Has The 9th Highest Percentage Of Votes For Hall Of Fame Induction!!!

bench2

Johnny Bench’s Fantastic Autograph

Johnny Bench’s Fantastic Autograph

If a player could teach a ‘How To Sign’ class, Johnny Bench could easily be the professor.

His signature is crisp, clear, and almost perfectly executed each time.  In fact, of all of the Bench signatures I have seen both in person and online, I have to say that I have never seen a bad one.

Written in a very clean script, his autograph is easy to read while offering just enough flare to bring a smile to the recipient’s face.

I have two in my collection, and if I have my way, more will follow.

Here is just one example of the perfection that Bench offers up:

Johnny Bench & His 1975 & 1976 World Series Championships

Johnny Bench & His 1975 & 1976 World Series Championships

As the anchor of the mighty ‘Big Red Machine’, Bench helped take the Cincinnati Reds to the pinnacle of the sport during the post-seasons of 1975 and 1976.

And he did it in grand fashion…

In 1975, the Reds topped the Red Sox in 7 games  Bench rung up just a .207 batting average, but was responsible for driving in 4 crucial runs.  And in 1976, he dominated the Yankees.  In a 4-game sweep, he hit .533 while collecting 6 RBI, scoring 4 runs, and smashing 2 home runs.  His efforts in ’76 earned him the World Series MVP award.

Johnny Bench’s Second MVP Season – 1972!

Johnny Bench’s Second MVP Season – 1972!

Bench was an unstoppable force during the 1972 baseball season.  Hitting .270 along with 40 home runs and 125 RBI, Bench solidified himself as the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history.  During that season, Bench earned his 5th consecutive Gold Glove as well as his 5th straight All-star game selection.  He also led the team into the 1972 World Series, losing in game 7 to the mighty Oakland A’s.

Johnny Bench’s First MVP Season – 1970!

Johnny Bench’s First MVP Season – 1970!

It would be very hard to argue if Johnny Bench was a better offensive player or defensive player.  This is a true testament to his amazing all-around game.  Bench’s skill level far exceeded any other catcher playing during his time, and for his incredible efforts he won baseball’s Most Valuable Player Award both in 1970.

Johnny Bench was so dominant and valuable to the Red’s roster that  he was often used as a outfileder and infielder just to keep his bat in the line-up.  In today’s game this is unheard of, but for Bench he actually played in 37 games in all three outfield positions as well as first and third base.

Jonny Bench Won 10 Gold Glove Awards

Jonny Bench Won 10 Gold Glove Awards

Oh, and he did it in ten consecutive seasons too…

That’s right, from 1968-1977, there was no better defensive catcher in the National League than Johnny Bench.

In 1,742 games in which he played catcher, Bench put together an astonishing fielding percentage of .990.  Truly remarkable, Bench committed just 97 errors in those 1,742 contests.

Johnny Bench & The 1968 Rookie Of The Year Award

Johnny Bench & The 1968 Rookie Of The Year Award

Johnny Bench appeared in 24 games as a 19-year old catcher in 1967.  And it didn’t take long for him to make an immediate impact with his team.

Just 1 season later, and 1 year older, Bench was putting up numbers that rivaled the best veterans around the league.

Appearing in 154 games, Bench collected 155 hits en route to a .275 batting average.  He also displayed flashes of power as he connected for 15 home runs while driving in 82.

Bench was named to the National League All-Star team in 1968.  He also won the Gold Glove that year, and most importantly he won the league’s Rookie of the Year award. 

Johnny Bench’s 1968 season was a very solid start to one of the most successful and complete careers of any player to debut during the 1960’s.

Happy Birthday Johnny Bench!!!

Happy Birthday Johnny Bench!!!

Johnny Bench turns 65 years old today.  Regarded as the greatest catcher in the history of the game, I will give Mr. Bench the only thing that I can:

1 day of posts on this blog all pertaining to Johnny Bench and his incredible career!!!

 Happy Birthday Mr. Bench!!!

The Carl Yasztremski 1979 Kellogg’s Baseball Card Winner Is….

The Carl Yasztremski 1979 Kellogg’s Baseball Card Winner Is….

Congratulations Wade!!!

Thanks to everyone that participated in this giveaway.  And stay tuned, the next giveaway is just a few weeks away – and you are NOT going to want to miss this one…  Trust me!!!