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JOHNNY BENCH: AN OKIE LEGEND

Written By: Brittany Miller, , English

It’s almost 2019, which means baseball season is right around the corner. If you’re anything like us, that means it’s time to brush up on a little baseball history to get properly prepared for the year. We thought we’d dive into a local legend, the man himself, Johnny Bench.

From Binger to Big Red Machine

In 1947 Johnny Bench was born in Oklahoma City. His family bounced around Oklahoma before settling into the small town of Binger. It was in Binger that Bench first fell for America’s favorite pastime and set off down the path to becoming one of the best players of all time.

Early Bird Got the Worm

At just eighteen years of age, Bench began his career playing for the Peninsula Grays, a team in the single A Carolina league. He came out swinging ( literally ), winning the Player of the Year award with ease. Smashing 22 homeruns, he was succinctly moved up to Triple A. His new team, Buffalo, was a team of hardened professionals who mentored the young player. Due in part to an abundance of talent paired with the tutelage from his teammates, Bench claimed the Minor League Player of the year title in his first year.

The Rise of the Big Red Machine

The “Great Eight” players leading the Cincinnati Reds were an unstoppable force in the 70’s. The nickname ” Big Red Machine “was inspired by the team’s undeniable prowess and crystal clear record as champions. With four national league pennants and not just one, but two World Series titles, this team was going down in history.

A Legacy of Victory

In 1983, Bench’s whirlwind of a career came to an abrupt halt when he announced his plan to retire. With over a decade of champion-caliber playing under his belt, it was a surprise to no one when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Though his time on the field drew to an end, his time in the limelight was not even close to over. From hosting his own television program to a statue of himself being put up in his honor by the Reds at the Great American Ballpark, Bench had been cemented in American history as a living legend.

Well, that’s all we’ve got for now. We at Kalidy hope you and your family have a wonderful new year and many more to come.

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