Johnny's childhood dream was to become a major league baseball player and his father counseled that the position of catcher was the most direct route to that goal. Taking that advice, he was selected and signed in the 1965 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. After two seasons in the minors, Bench made Cincinnati's Major League roster for the 1968 season. This marked the beginning of one of the most successful careers in baseball history and to Johnny's ascension as a celebrity. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989, Bench is undoubtedly the greatest catcher ever as stated by the Sporting News in late 1998, in which Johnny was named the 16th greatest player of all time - His successes include National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Players (1970 & 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All-Star, and 10 Gold Gloves. In 1980, Bench set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons. Then, in 1999 Johnny received baseball's esteemed honor of selection to the All Century Tearn on October 24.