Lot 474: 1983 Johnny Bench 389th Home Run Retirement Night Game Worn Jersey
Auction Date:5/31/2009 9:00 PM EST
Quite simply, the best Bench jersey one could ever hope for. Not only the very last he ever wore as a catcher in his HOF career, but one in which he also slammed his then record-for-a-catcher 389th career homer - and all on Johnny Bench Night. That event, on September 17, 1983, was one of the most emotional moments ever at Riverfront Stadium, with a stadium-record 53,790 fans paying tribute to the greatest catcher of all time (don’t even bother arguing the point). Bench, who’d been shifted to first base to extend his career, donned the tools of ignorance for the game against Houston, and went out on a high note with a single and #389, which stood as the record until Carlton Fisk and then Mike Piazza broke it. Arguably the most beloved Red, and if not then the most beloved who never bet on his team, Bench later donated the jersey to the Special Olympics to auction for charity. White home jersey is signed by Bench above the Reds’ “C” logo on the left breast, with his quasi-trademark “Catch Ya Later” in black marker, grading an 8/10. Verso has “Bench” and “5” in red tackle twill. Front interior tag is Rawlings [size] 44 with “Set 1 1983” flag tag and Bernie Stowe (longtime Reds equipment manager) had an additional label sewn in that reads “Worn Sept. 17, 1983” in chain-stitched red. Jersey shows light use. Also included is a LOA from Bernie Stowe on Reds stationery, and a newspaper clipping of the Reds naming their clubhouse after Stowe. By all measures, a grand slam for Bench buffs.
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