Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The great Johnny Bench
I wasn't a big sports nut growing up, but every red-blooded Oklahoma boy knew who Johnny Bench was. As close to a sports hero as I ever had as a kid.
Once could easily make the case the JB is the greatest catcher of all time (though Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is gaining ground fast). In his book "Catch Every Ball", Bench relates the story of the rookie pitcher who insisted on throwing a fastball, regardless of the fact that Johnny kept waiving him off. Eventually Bench relented and let him throw his heat, which he CAUGHT WITH HIS BARE HANDS. I'm pretty sure that pitcher remembered his manners from that point forward.
Bench is a class act too. No "Tiger-Woods-type" scandals in this guys history.
I am quite proud to have his statue in front of my hometown ballpark!