Sparky Anderson

sparky anderson
AP

George Lee Anderson of Bridgewater, South Dakota, might well have turned out to be one of the most obscure people to have ever put on the uniform of a Major League Baseball team.

You know him as Sparky, a nickname given to him by a minor league radio broadcaster because young George was something of a firecracker.

Courtesy MLB Network

When you watch a biography of Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, you expect to see lots of World Series highlights available for years on DVD.

That's all part of BENCH, a terrific 90-minute MLB Network Presents film premiering 8 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 30 on the MLB Network. But the stars of the show are Bench, now 71, being a single father to sons Justin, 12, and Josh, 9, in their Florida home.

BENCH also will bring back a flood of memories for Big Red Machine fans with the sights and sounds from Riverfront Stadium, spring training, the Reds' dugout, and Bench's foray from behind the mask into the entertainment world with Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Hee Haw, David Letterman and his own TV show.