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Charles Albert "Chief" Bender Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Charles Albert "Chief" Bender passes away in 1954.

Charles Albert "Chief" Bender was an American baseball player.

Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota on the White Earth Indian Reservation on May 5th, 1884. He was a member of the Ojibwe (sometimes spelled Ojibwa) tribe. He was given the Indian nickname "Mandowescence", which means "little spirit animal". His father taught him to farm the land the family was given on the reservation. He attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School and Dickinson College.

In 1903, Bender began his professional career with the Philadelphia Athletics(A's). In his first year he was one of only a few players to throw more than 200 pitches in a season at the age of 19. His walks per 9 innings was 2.17 since 1893 few players under the age of 20 were able to achieve it. During his first year he also got a chance to pitch against Cy Young.

In 1905, Bender found himself in the World Series against the New York Giants. Despite the efforts by Bender during the series, he pitched one shutout, the A's lost the series to the Giants.

From 1906 to 1910, Bender continued to rack up impressive statistics. At the same time he was dealing with discrimination. Even his nickname "Chief" was a common nickname given to players of Native American descent. Biographer Tom Swift wrote about Bender, he "was often portrayed as a caricature and was the subject of myriad cartoons - many exhibits of narrow-mindedness. After he threw one of the most dominating games of the early years of the American League, Bender was depicted wielding a tomahawk and wearing a headdress as though he was a happy warrior." On the field it was common for taunts to come from the opposing team dugout. From them he heard things like "Back to the Reservation!". Bender took the taunts in stride, even smiling at some. On occasion when he retired the side with a strike out, he shouted back "Foreigners! Foreigners!"

In 1910, Bender and the A's made it to another World Series. This time they defeated the Chicago Cubs, giving Bender his first World Series Championship. In 1911, Bender and the A's won the World Series again, this time in a rematch against the New York Giants. They won their third World Series in four years in 1913.

By the time Bender's professional career was over in 1918, he had a record of 212-127 and a career ERA 2.46. In five trips to the World Series he had 6 wins during the collective games and completed 9 of the 10 games where he started. He also threw a no-hitter on May 12th, 1910.

Bender was a player-manager in the minor leagues from 1919 until 1924, although the last two years he did not manage. From 1925 to 1932 he got back to the Major Leagues with the White Sox and the Giants. He was the manager for a Yankee affiliate and he managed the baseball team at the United States Naval Academy. Around 1933 he returned to the Athletics where he remained for the rest of life acting as a coach, minor league manager and scout.

Bender was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953, unfortunately he passed away before the induction ceremony. His wife accepted the plaque on his behalf.

Bender passed away on May 22nd, 1954 from prostate cancer.

Bender was a member of Lamberton Lodge No. 487 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.