Baseball Savings is the Proud Sponsor of the Johnny Bench Award | Baseball Savings.com
Johnny Bench Award
The Johnny Bench Award, proudly sponsored by BaseballSavings.com, is presented to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate catcher. Johnny Bench, arguably the greatest catcher of all time, agreed to be the namesake for the annual award, which has accurately predicted some of MLB’s next biggest stars including its most notable winner to date, Buster Posey.
Our association with Bench makes us familiar with legacies and how to fulfill big league dreams. We know looking up at a baseball immortal like Johnny Bench can be daunting. Just making it to the show might seem impossible. But each year, it happens. Promising young players make their MLB debut. So at BaseballSavings.com, we just have one question: Why not you?
Johnny Bench was named to the NL All-Star team 14 times, played in every game from 1968 to 1975, and once set a major league record for home runs by a catcher (389). He won two home run crowns, led the league in RBIs three times, and was voted league MVP twice. In 1968, Bench became the first catcher to win Rookie of the Year, catching a rookie record 154 games, and winning the first of ten Gold Gloves. If that wasn’t enough, he also profoundly impacted the game. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed, and kept his throwing hand behind his back to protect it from foul tips. In January 1989, Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with the fourth highest percentage of total votes cast.
The Selection Process
The Johnny Bench Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher as voted on by Division I coaches.
A watch list is compiled from nominations received from the universities and released in March.
A selection committee will then narrow the list down to the semifinalists. Statistical information on each semifinalist is then compiled and sent to the national selection committee by the end of May. A vote by the national selection committee narrows the list to three finalists.
Another vote during the College World Series will determine who will be named the Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of the Year. The three finalists will be brought to Wichita, KS for the awards banquet at the end of June.
Pentecost Takes Home Bench Award
Congrats to Max Pentecost, the 2014 Johnny Bench Award winner! The junior backstop from Kennesaw State led the nation with 110 hits and was second with a .423 batting average and 164 total bases. He also threw out 34% of attempted base stealers. This combination of offense and defense helped the Owls make it to the postseason for the first time in school history. Earlier this month, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Pentecost 11th overall in the draft, making him the fourth highest pick to win the Bench Award, following Buster Posey (5th overall pick), Jeff Clement (3rd overall pick) and Mike Zunino (3rd overall pick). He credits his time in the Cape Cod league last summer as one of the biggest reasons for his success. There he admittedly became a much better player and person. He matured while becoming mentally and physically stronger. The following spring, he took the Atlantic Sun by storm, earning conference Player of the Year. He also became a Louisville Slugger All-American. Now he’s Catcher of the Year. Best of luck to Pentecost in the pros!