MLB Network to air series about Reds’ HOF catcher Bench
CINCINNATI — With the 2019 BBWAA Hall of Fame election results announcement five days away, MLB Network announced that the next installment of the MLB Network Presents documentary series is Bench, an in-depth and intimate look at Johnny Bench’s Hall of Fame playing career and his life now as a father to two young sons.
Narrated by award-winning actor, Ohio native, and lifelong Reds fan Martin Sheen, Bench premieres on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.
In new interviews, Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Tony Perez, 17-time All-Star Pete Rose, award-winning broadcaster and former Reds announcer Al Michaels, Basketball Hall of Fame coach and Ohio native Bobby Knight, award-winning broadcaster Brent Musburger, and country music superstar and fellow Oklahoma native Toby Keith each describe their friendships with Bench, his dominance as a player, and the star power that made him famous both on the field and in pop culture.
Rose, a Cincinnati native, and Bench each discuss their relationship during their playing days and how Rose’s suspension from baseball in 1989 affected their friendship.
“[Justin and Josh] are really my life. I’m Mr. Mom. I’m Dad. People say, ‘Man, you seem so young and alive.’ [I say], ‘I know. It’s great, isn’t it?’” — Johnny Bench.
The film begins with the 71-year old Bench at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, FL., where he’s raising his sons, 12-year old Justin and 9-year old Josh, as a single father.
With his trademark cool demeanor, Bench cooks breakfast for his sons and describes a daily routine that is far removed from the spotlight he once knew.
In a visit to Binger, Oklahoma – population 700 – where Bench was born and raised, those who’ve known Bench the longest describe the small town that informed his persona and work ethic, and their shared connection with a sports legend who never forgot where he came from.