Derrick: Bench was one the best power-hitting catchers of all time. At one time he held the record for most career HRs for a catcher but has since been passed by two players. However, he still holds the record for career grand slams by a catcher. Bench was also an outstanding defensive catcher winning 10 Gold Gloves in his career. He had an unorthodox method of blocking balls but his over-sized hands made it successful. Bench was also a two-time MVP and a World Series MVP.
Adam: Bench, as part of the interchangeable one and two, is exactly what a catcher is envisioned to be. He called an incredible game, had a great arm, and an impressive bat.
Kimani: Considered the driving force behind Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” of the 70s. He had a .267 career average with over 300 home runs, 1300 RBI, 1000 runs scored, and 2000 base hits over a 17-year career. He was selected to the All-Star team 14 times (he started 10 at catcher). Bench was named NL Rookie of the Year in 1968. He also has two NL MVPs and a World Series MVP. Bench is considered (along with perhaps Ivan Rodriguez) as perhaps the greatest defensive catchers ever as evidenced by his 10 consecutive Gold Gloves (68-77).
Wesley: In his prime, Rodriguez was arguably the best offensive and defensive catcher in the league. He was superb offensively, as he hit for a .296 career average with 311 home runs, 1,322 RBI, 1,354 runs scored, 2,844 base hits, and 127 stolen bases in 18 seasons. He was selected to the All-Star team 14 times. Pudge was also arguably the best defensive catcher of all-time as he won 13 Gold Gloves, the most all-time for a catcher. He won the 1999 AL MVP award as he had a .332 average, 35 home runs, 113 RBI, 116 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases as a member of the Texas Rangers. Hopefully he will be in the Hall of Fame someday as he was certainly one of the best catchers of all-time, if not the best.
In a near unanimous decision, Johnny Bench beats Ivan Rodriguez, 4 votes to 1, and is named the starting catcher on the Sports Unbiased MLB All-Time Starting Lineup
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