Johnny Bench issued an apology after the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame catcher made an anti-Semitic joke at former general manager Gabe Paul and former pitchers Danny Graves and Bronson Arroyo during the team’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday, as the first WCPO reported the bar.
After Paul joined, Pete Rose said the former general manager had pulled him out of high school for $400 a month, to which Paul’s daughter Jennie replied, “That’s cheap.”
What did Johnny Bench say?
“I agree that my comments were insensitive,” the bank said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. “I apologize to Jennie for robbing her father of all the attention he deserved. Gabe Paul earned his place in the Reds Hall of Fame, just like everyone else on that podium. I’m sorry that Gabe’s achievement alone, my inappropriate comment.”
However, Paul, speaking to reporters after the ceremony, responded that she had not heard Bench’s comments. Paul said, “I never even heard him say that.” “Johnny came over and said, ‘Were you mad?’ And why did I say that? I didn’t even hear him say that. I think if I had heard him say that, he would have said something, but I didn’t even hear him say that.”
When Jennie Paul was asked if she was Jewish, she said no.
“No, no,” said Paul. “My mother was an Episcopalian. When they got married in 1939, on the day of the inauguration, April 17, they made a non-interference pact with my mother, and she didn’t. I never saw her go to the temple. I never heard them. Talk about her faith. But, you know, her parents were from Ukraine.”
Other things Jennie responds:
Jennie Paul reported that Gabe Paul had 12 children, and most of them were practicing Judaism and had strong faith, but the responsibility of raising Jennie as an Episcopalian was left to her mother.
According to Paul, Gabe Paul also lost the commissioner’s chair because he was Jewish. Paul said that throughout her entire baseball career, she followed him because no one know he was Jewish. “He also turned down as commissioner because he was Jewish. They wanted (General William D.) Eckert ran for commissioner when he was elected. And then he thought that if he got the vote, he would be discriminated against for being a Jew.”
Therefore, Paul further stated that her father had a soft spot for other minorities due to his experiences. She said, “I felt like there was no discrimination allowed in his world.” “They pulled a whole team out of Little Rock, Arkansas, because they wouldn’t let blacks have a place with whites.”
Gabe Paul signed Chuck Harmon, the first player for the Black Reds, in 1954. The Inquirer has reached out to the Reds and the team’s Hall of Fame for comment and will update this story when they respond.