For two decades, the Johnny Bench Award was presented to college baseball’s top NCAA Division I catcher. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission created the award in 2000, and in 2019 was brought by Johnny to the Cincinnati Reds for an expanded program.
The award now includes a top college softball winner, as well as regional, "Reds Country", high school baseball and softball honorees from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. All winner are recognized in the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Candidates are assembled from direct online submissions, All-State rosters, other award nominations and state athletic association recommendations. An awards committee determines a group of finalists based on statistics and support from local sources from each state. Johnny hand picks the winner.