Historical Hitter

Historical Hitter October 5 1905: Charles Albert Bender

October 5 is part of the baseball lexicon for an off the field and on field events. First at bat is the off-the field noteworthy events.

Henry ChadwickHenry Chadwick, “the Father of Baseball” was born in Exeter, Devon, England on October 5, 1842.  He introduced the box score to baseball.  With his mighty pen his efforts to keep the game clean and make the play on the field determine the outcome earned him the role as “the conscience of the game”. The phrase; “In the Best Interest of Baseball” was his. He also advocated that one must catch a fly ball in the air, rather than on the bounce, and pitchers should pitch overhand. In a 17-page memorial section published in the 1909 Spalding Guide to Chadwick, AG Spalding wrote:

Mr. Chadwick always stood for the best in Base Ball, and his trenchant pen could always be depended upon to aid in raising the moral standard of the game, and was utterly opposed to anything that would tend to drag it down. Almost alone and single-handed he fought the gambling element that had an almost death grip on the game in the early seventies.

Without Henry Chadwick, baseball, as we know it, would not exist.

Eddie GrantEddie Grant was an average infielder from 1905 to 1915 is last team being the Giants. His best years were from 1908-1910 when he led the league in at bats (1908 & 1909) and singles (1909 & 1910). He retired from the game to start his law practice in Boston in 1916, but the war effort calling, he enlisted and was commissioned Capitan. He died this day on the battlefield in the Argonne Forest, just forty days before the Armistice.  Baseball Commissioner Landis declared that,

“His memory will live as long as our game may last.”

On Memorial Day 1921, the Giants dedicated a memorial to him at the 488 foot mark in center field in the Polo Grounds right in front of the clubhouse. All was well until the NY Giants’ last game. In the chaos of fans reaching to get a piece of the Polo Grounds, using a New York term it “disappeared.” As the Giants moved west, they left behind the monument.  The rest of the story ties in with baseball events of tomorrow.

Charles Albert BenderOur batter of the day of October 5, 1905 was a true baseball hero. The teams in question were the Athletics and Senators.  The game was a double header in Washington, DC. The game was played under great pressure, as the season was on the line. An A’s win would clinch the American League Pennant and its accompanying trip to the second World Series. What is even more remarkable our baseball hero of the day was just a 19-year old rookie.

Sporting Life, Vol 46 No 5, October 14, 1905 summarized the hitting line of our batter of the day as:

…he made in the two games two singles, two triples and a double, good for ten bases and scoring eight men.”

The official line for the afternoon at was 5 for 6 and a walk. He reached base 6 out of 7 plate appearances on this fateful Pennant winning in doubleheader.

Not only that, he was the pitcher of record for both games. Again Sporting Life reported, this Hall of Fame pitcher,

“… was unhittable. He also won his own game by batting in three runs in the fourth inning with a triple. Subsequently he scored another run with a hit.  And for game two which was tighter affair:

In the second game Washington knocked Coakley out in two innings, thus Bender going to the rescue.” Bender gets the credit for both victories…

Thus, in addition to the batting success add in a complete game, 5-hit shutout, with 8 k’s and 1 walk; and for the second game in relief, and additional 7 innings, 7 hits and 7 k’s and two walks. The pitching grand total is 16 innings, 3 runs, 12 hits, 15k’s and 3 walks, and a pennant garnering two victories.

As Sporting Life exclaimed, “The star of the day was Bender.”

Born Charles Albert Bender was born from a German-American father Albertus Bliss Bender and a Mother Mary Razor Bender, was believed a member of the Mississippi Band of the Ojibwe on the reservation in Minnesota. He attended the famous Carlisle school being introduced to baseball by Pop Warner. Thankfully football’s loss was baseball gain. After he graduated he played semi-pro ball with the local Harrisburg Athletics, he was soon discovered by Connie Mack. At the ripe old age of 19 for the 1903 Athletics Bender was an instant star. His first two games were victories over Hall of Famers, Cy Young and Clark Griffith.

He suffered under the moniker of “Chief” due to heritage given to him by the media of the day.  Tom Swift, writing on Bender’s SABR BioProject describes the pitcher in terms of his character, intelligence, and vigor as:

American Indian. Innovator. Renaissance man. Charles Albert “Chief” Bender lived a unique American life, fashioned a Hall of Fame career, and was an important member of modern baseball’s first dynasty

He was always called Albert by Connie Mack, no doubt as a complement and sign of respect. On Benders’ Hall of Fame page Connie Mack, who was involved in Baseball for 50+ years, is quoted honoring his star pitcher with this words:

“If I had all the men I’ve ever handled and they were in their prime and there was one game I wanted to win above all others, Albert would be my man.”

Charles Albert Bender PitchingAnd with pennant at stake in 1905, Albert Bender delivered for Connie Mack, the Athletics, and for the City of Philadelphia with his arm, and his bat: the A’s won both, 8-0 and then 9-7.  Below are the box scores from both games.

The final standings of the 1905 season had both the A’s and White Sox tied with 92 Victories, but the A’s due to four-game loss difference created a two games ahead and resulted in higher winning percentage of .622  for the A’s vs. .605 for the White Sox.

Also in Boston, the Red Sox beat the Highlander’s 10-5, Cy Young got the win while hitting a two- run homer.  A home run was the only feat that Bender did not do this day. The Red Sox ended up in 4th place 16 GB and ahead of NY.



Baseball Reference.com

Sporting Life, Vol 45 No 5, October 14, 1905.

SABR Bio Project:

Henry Chadwick: by Andrew Schiff.


Eddie Grant by Tom Simon;


Chief Bender by Tom Swift, http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/03e80f4d

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