The 100 Greatest in 100 Days: #39 Johnny Bench

Backstopping the list at #39 is Reds catcher Johnny Bench. Known as Little General, Bench led the Big Red Machine to two World Series titles in four appearances in the 1970s. Bench excelled in all facets of the game, ranking third all-time in offensive WAR among catchers and 6th all-time in dWAR among catchers. He’s the only catcher in history with three seasons driving in at least 125 runs, and the only catcher in history to lead the league in RBIs three times. His 45 home runs and 148 RBIs in 1970 are the most by a catcher in history, and his 355 total bases in 1970 are tied with Mike Piazza for the highest single-season total by a catcher. Bench is the only catcher in history to lead the league in home runs, and he did it twice. He was named the World Series MVP in 1976, joining Mike Schmidt and Frank Robinson as the only players in history with two regular-season MVPs and a World Series MVP. During his World Series MVP run, Bench hit a robust .533 with 17 total bases in Cincinnati’s four-game sweep of the Yankees.

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