AN ARTICLE FROM THE BASEBALL MAGAZINE: SEPTEMBER
THE MIGHTY BENDER
The Philadelphia Athletics were facing the Boston Somersets and Connie Mack was in a quandary. So many of his regulars were hurting and he was having a hard time getting enough people to play the positions on the field. Worse, he was strapped for people to pinch hit and in todays game he could use them. Boston pitcher Jesse Tannehill was getting tagged by the Philadelphia Mackmen. People were on the bases in almost every inning and Mack wanted to score as many runs as possible. In the sixth inning he decided to put in his great pitcher Chief Bender to play left field. Nobody else was really available!
Charles Albert Bender was a proud man. He was part Chipewa Indian on his mothers side. There was always an awareness on his part of the reputation that Indians had in those days. He did everything possible to counteract that image. He did not smoke or drink, was very soft spo-ken, conducted himself in an honorable and respectable fashion & exhibited a sharp intelligence.
Besides that he was a terrific pitcher. As of today, May 9, 1906, he was numbered among the best in the AL. Years later, when he was elected into the HOF he had the following record:
210 lifetime wins and 127 losses with a fine ERA. He pitched a no-hitter against Cleveland in 1910 and won 20 games twice. Over a 16 year career he struck out 1,711 men. Besides pitching he was often used for his batting ability. In todays game we talk about him as a batter.
In this game Connie Mack put Chief Bender into left field in the sixth inning. It would spell some of the regulars who were doing yeoman work because of the spate of injuries Philadelphia was suffering.
On Tannehills first pitch Bender connected and sent a long fly ball towards Freeman in rightfield. In those days an overflow crowd was allowed to stand in the outfield and the ball bounced into the fans standing at the edge of the park. Freeman finally got the ball and threw it to infielder Freddie Parent who relayed it to catcher Graham at the plate. Bender slid under the tag for what was ruled an inside the park homerun. Usually a ball that went into the overflow crowd like that was ruled a double. That was not the case today and Boston did not question the call. More was yet to come.
In the eighth Inning Chief Bender came up to the plate for the 2nd time in the game. Philadel-phia was winning 9-2 and they had a man on second. Bender worked Tannehill, who was still pitching, for a 2-2 count. Tannehill threw a whizzing fast ball down the middle of the plate. Once again Bender connected. The ball flew into the outfield & eluded Larry Stahls leaping attempt to get it. By the time Stahl caught up with it, Bender, who was rather fast, was heading towards third. A good throw might have caught him at the plate. This one was off-line though, and Ben-der crossed the plate with his second straight inside the park homerun.
There was a mob scene at home plate as all of Benders teammates gathered around him. In later years, in recounting his great career in baseball, he would usually rate todays game as among his most memorable.