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Baseball Savings is the Proud Sponsor of the Johnny Bench Award | Baseball Savings.com
BaseballSavings.com proudly sponsors the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, created in 2000 to honor the nation’s most outstanding collegiate catcher. The award, administered by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, is presented after the conclusion of the College World Series. Johnny Bench, the legendary catcher of the Cincinnati Reds and widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in baseball history, agreed to be the namesake for the annual award.

Turner Takes Home Bench Award

Congratulations Stuart Turner! The junior from Ole Miss is the 2013 National Catcher of the Year and winner of the Johnny Bench Award. Turner batted .374 with five home runs and 52 RBIs this season, but his elite defense is what gave him an edge over the other two finalists. He threw out 51% of attempted base stealers, a talent that helped get him drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round earlier this month. Turner also helped guide a pitching staff that combined for a paltry 3.07 ERA. The Johnny Bench Award honors the most complete catcher, not just the best hitter, and Turner’s balanced attack made him most deserving. “This has been a lucky year for me,” he said. “The ball kind of rolled my way, and I got a little offense going. But for me, it’s still defensive pride.” Best of luck to Turner in the Majors!

Greater Wichita Sports Commission
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Winner of the 2013 Johnny Bench Award: Stuart Turner
2013 Johnny Bench Award Winner
Stuart Turner, Ole Miss

About Johnny Bench

As leader of the Big Red Machine, Johnny Bench defined the catching position for seventeen seasons, setting a standard by which all other catchers are compared. His career resume includes National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Players (1970 & 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All-Star, and 10 Gold Gloves.

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, he remains one of the greatest catchers of all time. While these accolades help illustrate Johnny’s success as a player, he prefers to focus on what he says being a catcher is all about, “doing the job day in and day out.” Not an easy thing to do when you’re playing the most brutal position in baseball. Johnny broke seventeen bones in his career and underwent multiple surgeries, but none of it kept him from setting an endurance record by catching 100+ games for thirteen consecutive seasons. In fact, he still feels the effects of all that punishment. Trouble with vision led to his involvement with OpDocs.com, an eyewear company that offers quality designer glasses for those who would like to see the game more clearly.

In 1983, the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund was established as a tribute to Johnny’s illustrious career. Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds at 17, Johnny never attended college, but wanted to help young athletes with the expense of higher learning. Thanks to Johnny, as many as five hundred students have received financial assistance, and the fund has given out nearly two million dollars. Johnny has also co-written Catch Every Ball: How To Handle Life’s Pitches, which tells little-known stories about the Hall-Of-Famer, his childhood, and his years in baseball. Johnny’s father wanted to be a catcher, but having served in two wars, he was never afforded the opportunity. Johnny ended up living his father’s dream. “Every time I caught a game,” he explains, “my dad was really catching.” Now Johnny has three sons of his own: Bobby, the oldest, and younger sons Justin and Josh. Maybe we haven’t seen the last Bench to carve his name among baseball’s greats.

About the Selection Process

The Johnny Bench Award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate Division I catcher, voted by the 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 the 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 for the awards banquet June 27th, 2013.

------------------ Winners ------------------

2013 - Stuart Turner, Ole Miss
2012 - Mike Zunino, Florida
2011 - Jake Lowery, James Madison
2010 - Bryan Holaday, Texas Christian
2009 - J.T. Wise, Oklahoma
2008 - Buster Posey, Florida State
2007 - Ed Easley, Mississippi State
2006 - Jake Smith, East Carolina
2005 - Jeff Clement, USC
2004 - Kurt Suzuki, Cal State Fullerton
2003 - Ryan Garko, Stanford
2002 - Jeremy Brown, Alabama
2001 - Kelly Shoppach, Baylor
2000 - Brad Cresse, LSU

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