Daily Archives: December 7, 2012

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 once read that as a kid growing up, Bench used to practice his signature repeatedly so he got accustomed to the same look and feel each and every time he signed.  He took a lot of pride in his signature, and wanted the recipients to be pleased with what he offered.

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 Captured 10 Gold Gloves During His Big League Career

Johnny Bench Captured 10 Gold Gloves During His Big League Career

Right at the start of his major league career, it was obvious that Johnny Bench was a supreme defender.

In his first full-time season, Bench captured the first of ten consecutive Gold Glove awards.  In his rookie season of 1968, Bench posted a fielding percentage of .991 while committing just nine errors in 154 games played.

He would go on to compile a career fielding percentage of .990 while committing just 97 errors in 1,742 games played. 

Johnny Bench Was A 14-Time All-Star!!!

Johnny Bench Was A 14-Time All-Star!!!

Arguably the greatest catcher of all-time, Johnny Bench made the All-Star team in 14 of his 17 seasons as a major league baseball player.

A member of the Cincinnati Reds for the duration of his playing days, Bench was a fixture on the squad for a majority of the time that he played in the big leagues.

And while there was competition for the starting spot from a few worthy candidates in the National League during the time that Bench played, nobody could stack up to the ‘Little General’.

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.

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 66 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!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Gimme Five!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Gimme Five!!!

I thought that this would be a fun way to start off the ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ at 30-Year Old Cardboard.

What I am seeking is your list of five eligible players that you would give your vote to for Hall of Fame election.  Your list can be made up of players that have been on the ballot for several years or guys that are fairly new to the list of eligible players.

**My one requisite is that you omit any/all of the players that are eligible for the first time in 2013.  So, no Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Biggio, Piazza, etc…  We will discuss those guys, I promise, in great detail.

But for now, I want to see what kind of dialogue we can get going about the players on the prior ballots that have yet to make the cut.

I am going to participate in this as well.  You can say that am giving myself five, if you wish.

And here they are, in random order:

Tim Raines

photo raines

Lee Smith

photo lee smith

Alan Trammell

photo trammell

Rafael Palmeiro

photo palmeiro

Dale Murphy

photo murphy

Agree or Disagree with my picks?  Great, let’s chat about it.

Ultimately, I will compile a list of all of the players that make the cut in your eyes and try to examine their careers further.

Thank you for your participation.  Have a great night!!