After spending nearly six decades in the game of baseball, a person probably has way too many stories to tell. Those stories are probably a great way to break the ice at a cocktail party or they are a great way to keep the most avid sports fans busy for hours.
Longtime Cincinnati Reds baseball scout Gene Bennett has decided to chronicle his baseball stories and share them with the public. On Wednesday night at the Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet, Bennett released his book to the public for the first time.
Entitled, “Gene Bennett: My 58 years with the Cincinnati Reds,” sold about 35 copies in 15 minutes. Bennett said the book surpassed his every expectation.
“I’m really surprised. It’s really a nice book, better than I thought it would be,” Bennett said. “The pictures are great. There’s 30 chapters to it. It’s about most of my life you might say.
“I’m so excited about it. It’s been a long time coming. It looks great.”
After embarking on a grueling process to have his book published, Bennett is thrilled the process is over.
“I’m absolutely excited to have the book in my hands,” Bennett said. “It’s been almost a year.”
Of the many stories Bennett shares in the book, one story immediately came to Bennett’s mind when thinking about his baseball days.
The Cincinnati Reds had an opportunity to draft Derek Jeter. Having a deal working out a head of time, Bennett and other members of the Reds’ organization was under the assumption Jeter was headed to the Queen City. However, in the 1992 draft, Cincinnati selected Chad Mottola with the fifth overall pick.
Now that he has officially released the book, Bennett said he is donating 100 percent of the profits.
“All of the proceeds, 100 percent of the money, goes to the Wheelersburg Little League,” Bennett said. “I’m picking the tab up for all of the expenses of publishing the book. I’ve got a chapter in my book about the Wheelersburg Little League.”
Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who’s broadcasted games for the Reds since 1974 and has known Bennett for several decades, isn’t surprised by Bennett’s generosity,
“That’s what Gene’s all about,” Brennaman said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Times. “Aside from his family, Gene’s greatest love in the world is baseball. If there was a pecking order, as far as Gene is concerned, the little league team down there would be first and foremost in his heart and the fact he would do what he’s doing is an indication of how important he feels the perpetuation of that program is.
“I’m not surprised at all that Gene would do something like that. Those of us that have been privileged to know Gene for a long, long time understand what kind of benevolent person he is and how much he has loved the game of baseball, which obviously from a work standpoint, he devoted his life to.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.