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Rare/UniqueCincinnati Red HOF Catcher Johnny BenchCut-Autograph.From His Book "From Behind The Plate"Baseball Hall of Fame 1989
Autographed: To Charles Best Wishes Johnny Bench
Starting offer-$ 3.99S/H-$ 1.29Continental USA ONLY.
Cut Autographs came out of a collection of autographed book. Some of the books sustained water damaged during a flood incident, but the autographs are in good condition. Please see pictures for details.
Check out my other sales with rare/unique autographed books and cut-autographs.
Please see below for detail on the career ofCincinnati Red HOF Catcher Johnny Bench.
Cut-Autograph comes from the estate of the brother in-lawof a friend that I having been buying cards and memorabiliafor over 20 years. His passion was buying books and gettingthem autographed. A lot of them are autographed to Charlie.Charlie lived in the Washington DC area and had access to manypolitical figures and was able to obtain autographs this way.
Please look at the pictures for condition of the cut-autographs. Most autographs are from the seventies and eighties.
Johnny Lee Bench(born December 7, 1947) is an American formerprofessional baseballcatcherwho played in theMajor Leaguesfor theCincinnati Redsfrom 1967 to 1983 and is a member of theNational Baseball Hall of Fame.Bench is a 14-timeAll-Starselection and a two-timeNational LeagueMost Valuable Player. He was a key member of theBig Red Machinethat won six division titles, fourNational Leaguepennants, and two consecutiveWorld called him the greatest catcher in baseball history.
Born and raised inOklahoma, Bench is one-eighthChoctaw; he played baseball andbasketballand was classvaledictorianat Binger-Oney High SchoolinBinger.His father told him that the fastest route to becoming a major leaguer was as a catcher. As a 17-year-old, Bench was selected 36th overall by theCincinnati Redsin the second round of the1965 amateur draft, playing for the minor-leagueBuffalo Bisonsin the 1966 and 1967 seasons before being called up to the Reds in August1967.He hit only.163, but impressed many people with his defense and strong throwing arm, among themHall of FamerTed Williams. Williams signed a baseball for him and predicted that the young catcher would be "a Hall of Famer for sure!"Williams' prophecy became fact 22 years later in 1989 when Bench was elected to Cooperstown.
During aspring traininggame in1968, Bench was catching for eight-year veteranright-handerJim Maloney. Maloney was once a hard thrower, but by this time injuries had dramatically reduced the speed of his fastball. Maloney insisted on repeatedly "shaking off" his younger catcher by throwing fastballs instead of thebreaking ballsthat Bench had called for. An exasperated Bench bluntly told Maloney, "Your fastball's not popping". Maloney replied with an epithet. To prove to Maloney that his fastball wasn't effective anymore, Bench called for a fastball, and after Maloney released the ball, Bench dropped his catcher's mitt and caught the fastball barehanded.Bench was the Reds' catcher on April 30,1969, when Maloney pitched ano hitteragainst theHouston Astros.
In 1968, Bench (20) impressed many in his firstfull season;he won the National LeagueRookie of the Year Awardand batted .275 with 15 home runs and 82 RBIs. This marked the first time that the award had been won by a catcher.He also won the 1968 National LeagueGold Glove Awardfor catchers, which was the first time that the award had been won by a rookie.He made 102assistsin 1968, which marked the first time in 23 years that a catcher had more than 100 assists in a season.
During the 1960s, Bench also served in theUnited States Army Reserveas a member of the 478th Engineer Battalion, which was based across theOhio Riverfrom Cincinnati atFort Thomas, Kentucky. This unit included several of his teammates, among them Pete Rose.In the winter of 1970–1971 he was part ofBob Hope'sUSOTour ofVietnam.
In 1970, Bench had his fineststatisticalseason. At age 22, he became the youngest player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He hit .293, led the National League with 45home runsand a franchise-record 148runs batted inas the Reds won the NL West Division.The Reds swept thePittsburgh Piratesin theNational League Championship Series, but lost to theBaltimore Oriolesin five games in theWorld Series.
Bench had another strong year in1972, winning the MVP Award for a second time. He led the National League in home runs (40) and RBI (125) to help propel the Reds to another National League West Division title and won theNL pennantin the deciding fifth game over thePittsburgh Pirates.One of his most dramatic home runswas likely his ninth-inning,lead off,opposite fieldhome run in that fifth NLCS game.The solo shot tied the game at three; the Reds won later in the inning on a wild pitch, 4–3.It was hailed after the game as "one of the greatclutchhome runs of all time."However, the Reds lost theWorld Seriesto a strongOakland Athleticsteam in seven games.
After the 1972 season, Bench had a growth removed from his lung; he remained productive, but never again hit forty home runs in a season. In1973, Bench hit 25 home runs and 104 RBI and helped the Reds rally from a 10½-game deficit to theLos Angeles Dodgersin early July to lead the majors with 99 wins and claim another NL West Division crown. In theNLCS, Cincinnati met aNew York Metsteam that won the NL East with an unimpressive82–79 (.509)record, 16½ games behind the Reds. But the Mets boasted three of the better starting pitchers in the NL, future Hall of FamerTom Seaver,Jerry Koosman, andJon Matlack. Bench's bottom of the ninth-inning home run off Seaver in the first game propelled the Reds to victory, but Seaver would get the best of the Reds and Bench in the deciding Game 5, winning7–2to put the Mets into theWorld Series.
In1974, Bench led the league with 129 RBI and scored 108 runs, becoming only the fourth catcher in major league history with 100 or more runs and RBI in the same season. The Reds won the second-most games in the majors (98) but lost the West Division to theLos Angeles Dodgers. In1975, the Reds finally broke through in the post season. Bench contributed 28 home runs and 110 RBI.Cincinnati swept thePiratesin three games to win theNLCS, and defeated theBoston Red Soxin a memorable seven-gameWorld Series.
Bench struggled with ailing shoulders in1976,and had one of his least productive years, with only 16 home runs and 74 RBIs. He finished with an excellent postseason, starting with a 4-for-12 (.333) performance in theNLCSsweep over thePhiladelphia Phillies.TheWorld Seriesprovided a head-to-head match-up with theYankees' all-star catcher,Thurman Munson. Bench rose to the occasion, hitting .533 with two home runs, while Munson also hit well, with a .529 average.The Reds won in a four-game sweep and Bench was named the Series'MVP.At the post-World Seriespress conference, RedsmanagerSparky Andersonwas asked by ajournalistto compare Munson with his catcher. Anderson replied, "I don't want to embarrass any other catcher by comparing him to Johnny Bench."
Bench bounced back in1977to hit 31 home runs and 109 RBIs but theDodgerswon two straight NL pennants. The Reds reached the postseason just once more in his career, in1979, but were swept in three straight in theNLCSby thePittsburgh Pirates.
For the last three seasons of his career, Bench moved out of the plate, catching only 13 games, while primarily becoming a corner infielder (first or third base). The Cincinnati Reds proclaimed Saturday, September 17,1983, "Johnny Bench Night" atRiverfront Stadium, in which he hit his 389th and final home run, a line drive to left in the third inning before a record crowd.He retired at the end of the season at age 35.