The 75-year-old Johnny Bench, widely regarded as the greatest catcher in baseball history, made a mistake over the weekend.
The Hall of Famer, who spent 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983, attended a ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the induction of former pitchers Danny Graves and Bronson Arroyo, as well as the team’s late general manager Gabe Paul (who passed away in 1998), into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The occasion was attended by Pete Rose, a former Reds (and Philadelphia Phillies) player who has been disqualified from the Hall of Fame, as well as Paul’s daughter, Jennie Paul.
Rose claimed that when he graduated from high school in 1960, Gabe Paul signed him to a $400 weekly contract.
That’s cheap; forget it, said Jennie Paul. Bench then added his voice. According to ESPN, Bench remarked, “He was Jewish,” which caused several audience members to giggle.
Since then, Bench has apologized. On July 16, he admitted, “I recognize my comment was insensitive.” “I apologized to Jennie for not giving her father the proper amount of attention. Like the other players who walked across that stage, Gabe Paul earned his spot in the Reds Hall of Fame.
I apologize that part of the attention has been diverted from Gabe’s accomplishment to my insensitive statement.
The now-Hall of Famer’s daughter claimed that if she had heard the original statement, she would have responded, but she didn’t hear it.