Johnny Bench, 35, who has played like a future Hall of Famer most of his 16-plus seasons with the Reds, will announce in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium today that he'll quit baseball at the end of the season.
The Reds confirmed his plans last night as they ended a four-game losing streak by beating the San Diego Padres, 8-1, in Cincinnati.
Bench made the NL All-Star team 13 times and twice was the league's most valuable player. He's played nearly every game this season and is hitting .283 with six homers and 31 RBI. He is in the first year of a three-year, nonguaranteed contract worth about $1 million a year.
He's hit more homers, 324, than any other major league catcher ever.
"I've known about it for a couple of days," Manager Russ Nixon said. "John told me he had decided to call it quits at the end of the year. His reason was that there's not that much fun in it anymore."
In last night's game, Bruce Berenyi (4-6) pitched a seven-hitter and drove in two runs with a double. He'd lost four straight, too.
"I threw the ball as hard as I could with each pitch," he said. "I'm better off against a bunch of swingers like San Diego. They swing the bat and it helps me."