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Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench to auction memorabilia in Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Hunt Auctions has announced the offering of the personal collection from Hall of Fame catcher and Cincinnati Reds icon Johnny Bench. The collection will consist of materials dating from Bench’s Minor League career until after his final Major League Baseball season in 1983.

The Bench Collection will be the showcase offering within the 17th annual Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Live Auction to be conducted on Nov. 14.

Johnny Bench is regarded as the greatest all around catcher to ever play the game of baseball. As once stated by Reds manager Sparky Anderson, “I don’t want to embarrass any other catcher by comparing him with Johnny Bench.”

Johnny Bench helped the Cincinnati Reds win World Series championships in 1975 and 1976. (Doug McWilliams/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

After two seasons in the minor leagues with the Buffalo Bisons, he was called up to the Cincinnati Reds and won the National League Rookie of the Year for 1968 in his first full season.

Bench became the most decorated catcher in MLB history as a member of 14 National League All-Star Teams, two-time National League Most Valuable Player, two-time World Series champion, 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, 1976 World Series MVP, MLB All-Century Team, Cincinnati Reds #5 Retired Number, 2011 Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Living Legend Award, and National Baseball Hall of Fame member in 1989.

“I was blessed to play for 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds in front of the greatest baseball fans in the world. The memories and accomplishments I enjoyed during my career in baseball will always be something which I deeply appreciate and cherish,” Bench said. “At this point in my life I have decided to share some of the items that I was so honored to acquire during my career with those very same fans that supported me all along the way. I want to be able to use the proceeds of this auction to allow my children and grandchildren to celebrate my career with me by providing for their education and other future endeavors.

“Words can never express how much these honors in my career have meant to me. I hope that my fans will enjoy this auction event and I look forward to revisiting those wonderful ‘Big Red’ seasons with them in the process.”

The collection will consist of one of the most significant single player offerings to have ever been sold at public auction with over (150) lots available for bidding. Items within the Bench Collection will be available to view at a special preview to be held at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory for several days prior to the live auction.

“Simply stated, Johnny Bench is universally regarded as one of the finest players in the history of the game,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.“His statistics certainly speak volumes to the accomplished Hall of Fame career he enjoyed with the Cincinnati Reds, but Johnny meant so much more to the game then his stat lines.

“Through 14 All-Star Games, countless playoff appearances, or even the Baseball Bunch television show Johnny Bench was a consistent ambassador for the game and beloved by fans alike. It is our privilege to present this historic collection with relation to one of the game’s all-time players.”

“We are thrilled and honored that Johnny Bench chose the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Live Auction for his historic collection,” said Anne Jewell, VP and Executive Director of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. “He entrusted our factory with crafting his baseball bats throughout his legendary career. Choosing our museum now for this next phase in his family life allows us to celebrate not only one of the greatest hitters of the game but also a longtime fan-favorite statesman of the sport.

“When he accepted our Living Legend Award we saw firsthand how Johnny cares about and connects with people in remarkable and memorable ways, and we can call his next shot with confidence — Bench is about to deliver another unforgettable home run for his fans and our lucky guests.”

Johnny Bench Collection Highlights:

• Johnny Bench1975 Cincinnati Reds World Series trophy (Est. $25,000-$50,000)
• Johnny Bench 1976 Cincinnati Reds World Series trophy (Est. $25,000-$50,000)
• 1970 Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds NL Championship ring (Est. $25,000-$50,000)
• Johnny Bench 1983 Final Career Home Run (#389) professional model bat (Est. $10,000-$20,000)
• 1968 Johnny Bench National League Rookie of the Year Award (Est. $25,000-$50,000)
• Johnny Bench NL Gold Glove Awards for seasons: 1969-1977 (Est. $15,000-$30,000each)
• 1983 Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds professional model home jersey (Est. $15,000-$25,000)
• 1989 Johnny Bench “The Catcher” original painting by Leroy Neiman (Est. $20,000-$40,000)
• Johnny Bench professional model catcher’s mitt c.1970s (Est. $15,000-$25,000)

Online bidding is available at www.huntauctions.com. For more information regarding the auction, bidding, or questions please call (610) 524-0822 or email info@huntauctions.com.

From Hunt Auctions

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