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Thread: Johnny Bench Story?

  1. #1
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    Johnny Bench Story?

    From Sun Deck: By Kaldanials:"Does anyone have details about the J Bench story in Bill Simmons mailbag this week.

    It tells of the time Bench kept getting shook off by a pitcher who wanted to throw a fastball, so JB proceeded to catch the next fastball with his bare hand to prove a point.

    Simmons ranked it the #1 manliest act in sports."

    Seems to me that it was Gerry Arrigo. IIRC, Bench wanted a breaking pitch and Arrigo wanted to throw a fastball. He kept shaking Bench off. Finally, Bench flashed the sign for a fastball. The batter took the pitch and Bench caught it barehanded. Supposedly, Arrigo never again shook off Bench.

    Rem

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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Fascinating accounts, stories, and even myths about how fast - or not so fast - a pitch has gone are common in the annals of the game. One such account allegedly took place during a Spring Training game in 1968. A rookie catcher named Johnny Bench was behind the plate and eight-year veteran Jim Maloney was on the mound. Bench continuously called for breaking balls and Maloney continuously shook him off. Frustrated, the two met at the mound where Bench bluntly said, "Your fastball's not popping." Maloney, also blunt, replied, "%*$@ you." The rookie returned to his position behind the plate and called for a curve, only to be shaken off again. Bench gave in to the veteran (who had recently strung together four consecutive seasons with 200+ strikeouts) and signaled for a fastball. Maloney delivered. Before the pitch reached the plate Bench dropped his glove and caught the ball bare-handed - or so the story goes.
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/arti...baseball.shtml

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    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    I doubt JB ever caught a Jim Maloney fastball bare-handed.
    Last edited by Ron Madden; 08-12-2007 at 07:15 PM.

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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    I watched Johnny catch. He had two hands. I seriously doubt he caught Maloney bare-handed, Even on an off-day a Maloney FB was some serious heat in his day.

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by corkedbat View Post
    I watched Johnny catch. He had two hands. I seriously doubt he caught Maloney bare-handed, Even on an off-day a Maloney FB was some serious heat in his day.
    I vaguely recall that story, but, like Rem, I recall the pitcher being Arrigo. Maloney in his prime threw around 98 mph. I very much doubt that Bench ever tried to catch Maloney bare-handed.
    The story would not nearly as impressive if Bench had been catching most of the pitchers on the present day Reds staff.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    According to the book Catch You Later by Johnny Bench, the pitcher was Arrigo. Johnny reached out with his bear hand and caught it like a tennis ball.

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    I had a chance to talk with John Bench for a few minutes this spring at a local sports stag dinner.

    I asked him who threw the very hardest during his years behind the plate, and he did not hesitate in his answer: "Wayne Simpson wore me out; no one threw harder than he did in 1970."

    I only had a minute with him, and I'd have loved to have asked him who was pitching when he caught the ball bare handed. I've read that legend many times, and it's always been an anonymous pitcher. This is the first time that I've read it was Maloney. I think Maloney threw as hard, if not harder, than Simpson did?

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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    I had a chance to talk with John Bench for a few minutes this spring at a local sports stag dinner.

    I asked him who threw the very hardest during his years behind the plate, and he did not hesitate in his answer: "Wayne Simpson wore me out; no one threw harder than he did in 1970."

    I only had a minute with him, and I'd have loved to have asked him who was pitching when he caught the ball bare handed. I've read that legend many times, and it's always been an anonymous pitcher. This is the first time that I've read it was Maloney. I think Maloney threw as hard, if not harder, than Simpson did?
    Maloney threw as hard as Gibson and almost as hard as Koufax. He's unsung, but he was a rival of those guys.

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    No possible way it was Maloney.

    Johnny had big hands.
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron View Post
    The story would not nearly as impressive if Bench had been catching most of the pitchers on the present day Reds staff.
    That's funny! Unfortunately, it's also sad.

    Maloney could really bring it. He was the type of pitcher that left hitters thinking, 'I didn't really see that pitch but it sure sounded good!"

    Arrigo, on the other hand, was a soft-tossing lefty that thought more of his fastball than Bench did; which, of course is the point of the story.

    Whether it's exactly true or not, it certainly is one of those stories that get passed down from generation to generation.

    Rem

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondRat View Post
    According to the book Catch You Later by Johnny Bench, the pitcher was Arrigo. Johnny reached out with his bear hand and caught it like a tennis ball.
    That would seem to clinch the veracity of the story, unless Johnny is a bald-faced liar, which I haven't known him to be.

  13. #12
    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    I also wondered about this when I read Simmons' column on ESPN today. I couldn't imagine something like that took place and I didn't already know about it. But it sounds legit.

    And yes, it must have been Arrigo in a real game (not spring training). For Simmons to rank it as the "No. 1 manliest act ever in sports" there is no way it could have taken place in an exhibition game. And I can't imagine Johnny would lie about something like that in his book when there would be plenty of his ex-teammates who could confirm or deny it. It must have happened. And I'm ashamed of myself that I didn't know about it until now. Ha.

  14. #13
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    I think this is a myth.

    When I was a kid, my Dad told me the same story about Ernie Lombardi.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I think this is a myth.

    When I was a kid, my Dad told me the same story about Ernie Lombardi.
    so you believe that bench was lying in his book? no way.

  16. #15
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Johnny Bench Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitz Dorsey View Post
    so you believe that bench was lying in his book? no way.
    All I know is I heard that story about Lombardi before anyone ever heard of Johnny Bench. I don't remember for sure who the pitcher was.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS


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