Charles Albert "Chief" Bender, who was born on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota's Crow Wing County, was one of the best pitchers in major-league baseball in the first 20 years of the 20th century.
At the age of 13, Bender left Minnesota to attend Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At Carlisle, which later became known as a football powerhouse with Jim Thorpe, Bender had his first baseball coach — Pop Warner, who is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Carlisle in 1902, Bender was discovered by a scout for the Philadelphia Athletics. Bender made his major league debut in April of 1903 — one month before his 19th birthday.
Bender spent 16 seasons in the major leagues – 1903-1917 and 1925. Bender had a career record of 212-127 with a 2.46 ERA and played on three World Series champion teams with the Philadelphia Athletics. He threw 36 shutouts in his career.
His best season was 1910 when he went 23-5 with a 1.58 ERA. He pitched a no-hitter against Cleveland on May 12, 1910. In 1914, he was 17-3 with a 2.26 ERA. He won 14 consecutive games that season.
Bender was the first pitcher to win six World Series games. He pitched on five World Series teams with Philadelphia — winning one game in 1905, one in 1910, two in 1911 and two in 1913.
Connie Mack, who managed the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 seasons, said of Bender, "If I had to win one game in my whole life and had my choice of pitchers to do or die for me, I should choose Chief Bender."
Bender was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.
CHARLES ALBERT (CHIEF) BENDER
Team: Philadelphia Athletics.