2009 Topps Johnny Bench
Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher who ever played in Major League Baseball. No one–not Fisk, not Rodriguez, not Berra–even comes close. The only concession I am willing to make is for Josh Gibson, but because of the color barrier and the inaccuracy and incomplete nature of Negro League statistics, they cannot be fairly compared against one another. But as far as Major League baseball is concerned, Bench is without equal.
That’s on the field, of course. Off the field, he was not known as a very nice guy. Easily annoyed by reporters and often blunt with his answers, Bench was not a media darling. Listen to his reaction to the Pete Rose question asked back in 1995, which I’m sure he is still asked almost daily, and then watch him roll his eyes at the next questions about current (again, 1995) catchers.
Whatever. Like Morgan, he was a great ballplayer. That doesn’t mean you have to like his personality.