'Catcher of the Century' Johnny Bench to Keynote 2006 Hutch Award Luncheon

SEATTLE — Nov. 7, 2005 — Johnny Bench, the legendary baseball player named "Catcher of the Century," will serve as keynote speaker for the 2006 Hutch Award Luncheon in February.

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, Bench's honors include National League Rookie of the Year (1968), National League Most Valuable Player (1970 and 1972), World Series MVP (1976), 14-time All Star, and 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. In 1981 Bench won the Hutch Award, and in 1999 he was selected by the Major Leagues for the All Century Team.

From childhood Bench dreamed of becoming a professional player, taking his father's advice to focus on catching. His stellar career began when he made the Cincinnati Reds' roster for the 1968 season.

Since his retirement from baseball in 1983 Bench has honed his skills in network sports broadcasting and entertainment, dividing his personal time between speaking engagements, celebrity golf tournaments and charitable fund-raisers.

Funds raised through the Hutch Award Luncheon go to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Gregory Fund for early cancer-detection research. The Gregory Fund was established in 2003 as a collaboration of the Hutchinson Center and The Moyer Foundation, founded by Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen.

The Hutch Award was established in 1965 to honor baseball great Fred Hutchinson and is given annually to a major-league baseball player who best exemplifies his fighting spirit and competitive desire. Past Hutch Award winners include Jamie Moyer, Trevor Hoffman, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Carl Yastremski. Fred Hutchinson's brother Bill, a prominent oncologist, founded the Hutchinson Center in Fred's name after Fred died of cancer at age 45.

The 2006 Hutch Award winner will be named in December and honored at the seventh-annual Hutch Award Luncheon at Safeco Field on Wednesday, Feb. 1 from noon to 1:30 p.m. General Motors Corporation is the presenting sponsor of the luncheon. For more information or to register visit www.fhcrc.org/hutchaward or call (206) 667-3789.

Editor's Note
Photos of Johnny Bench are available upon request.

Media Contacts
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5215

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.