March 9, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech junior catcher Arden Pabst is one of 74 catches named to the 2016 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is presented annually to the nation’s best college catcher.
It is the second straight year that Pabst has been named to the watch list. Pabst is one of nine ACC backstops included on the initial watch list.
In his first three seasons on The Flats, Pabst has thrown out 41 baserunners, throwing out runners 43 percent of the time. During the 2015 season, Pabst threw out 24 would-be base stealers and recorded a caught-stealing percentage of .436 – both figures led the ACC in 2015 and ranked among the NCAA’s best.
Pabst was the first Georgia Tech catcher to throw out 20 or more runners in a single season since current Baltimore Orioles star Matt Wieters gunned down 22 in 2007. That same season, Wieters was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award. Zane Evans was also a finalist in 2013.
The Johnny Bench Award Watch List will be updated throughout the season to include additional candidates until May 3. Semifinalists will be announced May 18 and the finalists will be unveiled June 6. The winner will be announced June 30 at the 19th annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.
While Bench is remembered for his offense, he may have had the greatest impact behind the plate. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed and kept his throwing hand behind his back to protect it from foul tips.
Bench’s career honors include: National League Rookie of the Year (1968); National League Most Valuable Player (1970, 1972); World Series Most Valuable Player (1976); 14-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner. In 1980, he set an endurance record by catching 100+ games for 13 consecutive seasons. Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989 with the fourth highest percentage of total votes cast. In 2015, Bench was named as part of the Franchise Four Greatest Living Players, along with Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays
No. 9 Georgia Tech opens ACC play with a three-game series at No. 11 Florida State in Tallahassee. All three games will be available on ESPN3 and WREK 91.1 FM (Friday & Saturday – 6 p.m., Sunday – 1 p.m.).