Chief Bender

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File:Chiefbender.jpg
Bender in 1911

Charles Albert "Chief" Bender (May 5, 1884 - May 22, 1954) was one of the great pitchers in Major League Baseball in the first two decades of the 20th century, and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota as a member of the Chippewa tribe - he faced discrimination throughout his career, not least of which was the derisive nickname ("Chief") by which he is almost exclusively known today. After graduating from Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Bender went on to a stellar career as a starting pitcher from 1903 to 1917, primarily with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics (though with stints at the end of his career with the Baltimore Terrapins of the short-lived Federal League, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Chicago White Sox).

Template:MLB HoF Over his career, his win-loss record was 212-127, for a .625 winning percentage (a category in which he would lead the American League in three seasons). His talent was even more noticeable in the high-pressure environment of the World Series: in five trips to the championship series, he managed six wins and a 2.44 ERA. In the 1911 Series, he pitched three complete games, which set the record for most complete games pitched in a six-game series. He also threw a no-hitter in 1910.

Bender was well-liked by his fellow players. Longtime roommate and fellow pitcher Rube Bressler called him "One of the kindest and finest men who ever lived." He was greatly respected for his quiet demeanor was well known for handling racial taunts gracefully. When fans heckled him or greeted him with war whoops on the field, he would answer them by cupping his hands around his mouth and shouting, "Foreigners! Foreigners!" He left baseball in 1918 to work in the shipyards during World War I. He came back to coach for the Chicago White Sox and even made a cameo appearance in his final major league game in 1925. But his heart remained tied to Philadelphia. Owner-Manager Connie Mack kept him on the payroll of the Athletics as a baseball scout, minor league manager or coach off and on from the time Bender retired as an active player until Mack retired at the end of the 1950 season.

Bender was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1953, less than one year before his death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 70.

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