Seven baseballs

Catcher Johnny Bench had hands so large, he could hold seven baseballs with just one hand:

johnny_bench_7_baseballs

His large hands also gave him the advantage of being able to block balls in the dirt more effectively.  Rather than dropping to his knees to block low pitches, Bench would often scoop them easily with one hand.  The size of his hands also enabled him to adopt the hinged catcher’s mitt, which in turn allowed him to catch one-handed.  Where previous mitts required the catcher to use both hands to ensure the ball would not pop out, the hinged mitt would snap shut upon contact with the ball.

His ability to hold so many baseballs provided some off-field benefits.  The photo below, for example, depicts Bench with his then wife, Vickie, at a gathering for the American Cancer Society (circa 1975-76).  He was named the new head of Athletes Against Cancer, and each of the baseballs was intended to represent one of the seven ways to check for cancer.

Johnny Bench seven baseballs

Getty Images



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