Formed in 2010 by Jeff Brown, local businessman, Ron Slusher, famed travel ball coach, and Ted Tom, former SSU Baseball Head Coach, the Gene Bennett Baseball Classic (GBBC) honors the legendary legacy of esteemed Major League Baseball (MLB) scout, Gene Bennett, and all of his contributions to the sport of baseball. The classic is held annually during the second week of June and routinely attracts the best amateur teams and players across the United States.
Throughout Bennett’s career, the Wheelersburg, Ohio native carved out his niche as scout within the Cincinnati Reds’ organization (1952-2010) by drafting some of its finest talent to play in the big leagues, such as Barry Larkin, Don Gullett, Paul O’Neill and Chris Sabo, and many more. In doing so, Bennett became an integral part in guiding the Reds to four World Series appearances in the 1970s, including two World Series crowns during the golden age of the “Big Red Machine.” Overall, Bennett was a member for six of the franchise’s nine World Series appearances and three of the Reds’ five World Series titles, including the last one back in 1990.
Bennett’s efforts as a scout have earned him several accolades, including inductions into the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts (1996) and the Wheelersburg High School Athletics Hall of Fame (2001). He was also given the Legends of Scouting Award for his six loyal decades of work with the Reds in January 2009.
The 2019 classic continues to honor Gene Bennett’s memory by attracting some of the finest talents in and out of the Ohio state lines. In addition to the teams from Ohio, the GBBC attracts teams from Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, West Virginia, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. Legendary travel ball teams such as the Ohio Warhawks, the Midland Redskins, the Huntington Hounds and the Kalamazoo Maroons have been represented.