Tag: Johnny Bench

19 Hall of Famers, 6 Home Runs and 1 All-Star Win in 20 for the AL

The 1971 All-Star game, played at Tiger Stadium, had what could be described as a convention of living legends.

Johnny Bench summed it up.

“It wasn’t a game, it was the world,” said Bench.  “In 1971, the fans and managers picked all the guys who were sure to be in the Hall of Fame.”

National League All-Stars included Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Ron Santo, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Juan Marichal and Ferguson Jenkins.  That’s 10 Hall of Famers and really includes 11.

The nine American League Hall of Famers were Rod Carew, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Luis Aparicio, Reggie Jackson and Jim Palmer.

The American League won the game 6-4, which was memorable for many reasons.

Frank Robinson became the first player to hit a home run as a National League All-Star and then as an American League All-Star.

In the second inning, Bench hit a home run into the right center field upper deck. He was thrilled, saying that it was the longest home run of his career.

Then along came Reggie. Jackson hit one of the longest home runs in All-Star history off Dock Ellis in the third inning. The ball hit the light tower on the roof of the upper deck in right field. It was still rising when it hit.

“I was so happy about my home run going so far,” Bench told the media. “Then Reggie hit his. I said, ‘Oops, mine just went from the sports headlines to the obituary page.'”

Each league hit three home runs, as the American League broke a nine-game losing streak. But the 1971 win would be the only blemish on the National League, which went on to reel off another 11 consecutive wins.

It is difficult for some modern fans to believe, but the National League once won 19 of 20 All-Star games.

Hank Aaron, who was around for most of the wins, gave his explanation.

“They always had good players, but we approached the game a lot differently than the American League did. We went for the win. So many times, I saw American League guys going into the clubhouse during the game. We stayed in the dugout and rooted.

Today, the All-Star game is merely a showcase. Not even the “reward” of the winner getting a potential extra home game in the World Series is much of an incentive.


Ryan, Jeff. “All-Star game 1971.” Sport. Aug. 1993. P. 103.

Note: Document URL
Gale Group Westchester Library System

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto’s MVP and the 10 Greatest Seasons in Team History

When the Reds reached the postseason in 2010, it was as if a 15-year siege had come to an end in Cincinnati. At long last, an organization stuck in the trenches of the National League had crossed over the breach.   

 Joey Votto’s 2010 season will resonate in Reds lore as the end of an era of losing in Cincinnati, and potentially a signal of things to come for a young and talented core.

 However, it also begs the question: in a Cincinnati Reds organization with such a storied history, where does Votto’s impressive third season rank?

Begin Slideshow

Cincinnati Reds Former Manager Sparky Anderson Leaves Lasting Legacy

Sparky Anderson, the man that managed the Cincinnati Reds for 9 seasons and the Detroit Tigers for 17 seasons, died yesterday from complications from dementia, according to his family.

Sparky had his first cup of coffee in the majors way back in 1958, playing a full season and batting .218 with the Philadelphia Phillies, rendering him a relative unknown when he arrived in 1970 in Cincinnati to take control of the youthful and emerging Reds.

His youth matched that of his players and, in his first season, he won 102 games. He would win nearly 900 games in nine seasons with the Reds, with three seasons of over 100 wins, while averaging 96 wins a season throughout his tenure.

Sparky was part of a youth movement in Cincinnati and brought along with him the emerging tactics of the day.

He was part of the transition toward using more relief pitchers, often taking his starter out at the first sign of weakness and he leaned heavily on his relievers. In fact, Rawly Eastwick was the back-to-back saves leader from 1975-1976, the Reds championship seasons.

Anderson took control of a diverse group of players, with names ranging from Cesar Geronimo, Tony Perez and Dave Concepcion, to George Foster, Joe Morgan and Ken Griffey Sr., to Johnny Bench and Pete Rose.

No matter the players differences, they had one thing in common, their outright respect for a truly great manager.

Pete Rose said many times, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit for Sparky.”

Sparky was well-respected by nearly everyone in baseball circles and got all of the reverence and adoration that comes with bringing a winner to Cincinnati, one of the greatest and oldest of baseball towns.

He was never afraid and never wavering on his decisions, giving of an air of confidence wherever he did go. Whether it be to take out a struggling pitcher, or moving Pete Rose to third base 1975, a move that was immensely criticized by the fans, the reporters and the organization, but the Reds still went on to win back-to-back titles.

He was so dedicated to those around him that he got fired for it.

After two second place seasons in 1977 and 1978, the Reds wanted him to bring in new assistant coaches, something which Anderson refused to do. Despite being fired, he resented no one.

He said at Bob Howsam’s (the Reds general manager who hired and fired Anderson) funeral, “The man changed my entire life, my home, everything. He was precious to me.”

Sparky exhibited a love and dedication for the game, yet understood the business side of the game that allowed it to prosper. It allowed him to make a living from the game that he loved.

He went from Cincinnati to Detroit, a place where the city cherished him just as much as the people in Cincinnati did.

He won 104 games and the World Series with the Tigers in 1984, his last pennant, his last 100-win season and his last championship.

He would go on to finish with 2194 wins, good enough for third all-time when he retired in 1995 and is now sixth on the list.

At his Hall of Fame induction in 2000, he pined on just how lucky he was.

“Players earn this, by their skills. Managers come here, as I did, on their backs, for what they did for me. I never believed different, I will never believe different, and I think that’s what made my career so lucky. I was smart enough to know the people that were doing the work, and I could never under any circumstances ever thank ’em.”

His rise was so improbable, having coached for only six season at the single and double-A level, but he did so with such confidence and ability that he would not be denied.

He was a humble man to the end and may not have a single enemy in the world, save for a few shaky starting pitchers and aging minor league umpires that he yelled at back in his playing days.

R.I.P Sparky Anderson.

The world has lost a great manager and an even better man.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

“Hip, Hip, Jorge!” Congrats To Jorge Posada On His 1,000th Career RBI

On a night when it rained on Alex Rodriuez’s 600th home run quest, Jorge Posada’s milestone RBI stole the spotlight.

After a base clearing three run double by Robinson Cano in the top of the first inning,  Posada followed with an RBI double of his own, and thus reached 1,000 RBI’s in his career.

With his milestone RBI tonight, Posada is now the 12th Yankee to do so, joining fellow catchers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, as well as long time teammate Derek Jeter.

But it’s not just Yankee legends that he’s joining.

Posada’s name can now be mentioned as one of only five catchers in the history of Major League Baseball to have 1,000+ RBI, 350+ Doubles, and 250+ Home Runs. The other four back stops in that group are Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, and Ivan Rodriguez (three Hall of Farmer’s and a future one).

Jorge is also now one of 24 active players with 1,000 RBI and one of two active catchers, the other one obviously being Ivan Rodriguez.

Hall of Fame for Jorge? A case can be made, but that is an entirely different discussion.

So congratulations to Jorge Posada on an amazing career, that has spanned 1,660 games, 16 seasons, a decade and a half of baseball, and now has 1,000 RBI.

Indeed deserving of a “hip hip, Jorge!”


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Are the Cincinnati Reds Kings of Ohio With LeBron James Gone?

Last Thursday, LeBron James decided to leave the Midwest for the sunshine in Miami, and with that, changed the entire landscape of professional sports in Ohio.

The Cavaliers, or more importantly James, had become the heart of the professional state. They had reached the 2007 Finals, had the best regular season record two straight seasons and the best player in the respective sport.

For Cincinnati, basketball has not been as relevant since the days of Oscar Robertson and the Cincinnati Royals. Therefore, I write this view not from a basketball perspective, but a whole “sport-state” perspective.

The state currently has seven professional sports teams that include:

Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Columbus Crew (MLS).

With LeBron now gone from the picture, there are truly only two franchises that can currently take claim at this time to being the Kings of Ohio: the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Browns.

An argument could be made for the Cincinnati Bengals, but their past season of success, a divisional title is not enough force to make up for their lean history of success.

Now, for those of you who want to argue for Ohio State, this is only an argument at the professional level, so Ohio State Football is not valid within these walls of argument. That is for a collegiate debate.

In this article, I will speak on the strength of reason the Cincinnati Reds should be considered the Kings of Ohio.

Right now as we lay at the All-Star break, the Reds lead the Central Division (49-41) by a game over the perennial division champ St. Loius Cardinals. The trio of Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and National League home run leader (22) Joey Votto have all helped in creating the division lead. The Reds look as strong as they have since the 1995 Playoff season where they battled the Braves. That is just a jumping point to start off the discussion.

The Reds are the last team in the state of Ohio to win a pro championship. Cleveland has been high and dry, but the Reds were able to take home the title in a suprise at the time by dismantling the Oakland Athletics in the 1990 World Series.

If I mention the name Chris Sabo, I’m sure it will put a smile on a few faces who have forgotten him. There is always Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, the mean bullpen trio which included Norm Charlton and the dominant Jose Rijo. They brought luster to a team which had not seen it in the 80’s. However, the 70’s were not so bad for the Red Stockings either.

These were times when the roster included players such as: Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster, Dave Concepcion, Gary Nolan and the original Ken Griffey—a finely tuned bunch who won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976.

The titles are what people remember, and unfortunately, it has been two decades since they last took home the title, but the history remains. The fact that they have been around since 1882 (or 1869 depending on which Red Stockings team you recognize), shows the immense amount of time they have been able to hold a place in professional sports.

They have the Hall of Fame players such as Pete Rose, and the moments such as his all-time hits mark set in Cincinnati. You could make an all-time Reds roster that could compete with any other one in the league. They might not beat the Yankees all-time or Dodgers all-time team, but they would sure give them one tough game or tough series.

The Reds have an illustrious past to go from and a bright future ahead of them as we watch this season unfold and those to come. If the young men can continue to develop and the minor league players can continue to grow into productive players at the professional ranks, this could be a championship caliber team. 

Just the thing worth noting in a team to be considered the Kings of Ohio.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress