About Johnny Bench
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