Formed in 2010 by Jeff Brown, local businessman, Ron Slusher, famed travel ball
coach, and Ted Tom, former SSU Baseball Head Coach and Tournament Director, 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.
Since the formation of the GBBC, the event has rapidly grown as the tournament
reached an all-time high in participants in 2015 with 21 teams (more than two times the
size of the inaugural year (8 teams) and the 2014 GBBC that had 16 teams) under the
direction of SSU’s Baseball Head Coach and current GBBC Tournament Director, Chris
The 2018 classic is the first classic to be held since Bennett’s passing in 2017,
yet it still
continues to honor his 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.