Johnny Bench has quit a daily radio show with Reds announcer Marty Brennaman after the two had a dispute over whether the broadcaster should have referred to Pete Rose in a Hall of Fame speech.
Bench has quit WLW-AM's daily morning "Brennaman and Bench on Baseball" show, station operations manager Darryl Parks said Thursday. Parks said he had been told Bench had resigned from the show, but did not have any official communication explaining Bench's reason for leaving.
Before Brennaman's speech at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, Bench approached the announcer to warn him against saying too much about Rose. Brennaman believes Rose should be in the Hall of Fame and said so during his speech.
Rose is ineligible for the Hall because he agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 following an investigation of his gambling.
Bench opposes Rose's reinstatement to baseball and election to the Hall of Fame. A group of Hall of Famers, including Bob Feller and Ralph Kiner, reportedly were ready to walk out of Sunday's ceremony had Brennaman used his own induction speech to campaign for Rose.
Brennaman said he intends to sit down with Bench, a special consultant to Reds general manager Jim Bowden, and work the problem out amicably.
"I intend for that to happen," Brennaman said Wednesday. "Bench has been a very close friend of mine. I've told my wife a number of times that if anything ever happened to me, he would be the first person to step forward, whether it be with financial assistance or whatever."
Bench and Brennaman were together Wednesday to tape a week's worth of the five-minute shows. The program airs Mondays through Fridays. Brennaman said he hopes Bench can be persuaded to return.
There are enough shows already taped to keep the program on air into next week, Parks said. If Bench does not return, guests can participate in the program with Brennaman, Parks said.
Joe Morgan, a former Rose teammate on Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" championship teams of the 1970s, called WLW on Wednesday while Brennaman was at the station. Morgan offered to mediate the Bench-Brennaman dispute.
Morgan gave good advice, Brennaman said.
"He just told me that Johnny and I had been friends for too long to let something like this happen," Brennaman said.
"It has nothing to do with Marty," Bench said. "It's just my own decision to make with the station and the way some of the things were handled."
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