Baseball Legend Chief Bender Sets Record Straight On Famous Rube Waddell Story
One of the best right-handed pitchers in the history of baseball had some entertaining insight about one of the best left-handers
Hall-of-Fame pitcher Rube Waddell remains one of the most talented and mysterious players to ever play baseball. Although he accomplished great things on a pitching mound, his performance was frequently overshadowed by his antics on and off the field. Some of the most widely recounted stories in the history of the sport feature the left-hander. However, years after he passed away, his former teammate, fellow pitcher Charles “Chief” Bender, set the record straight on perhaps the most famous of his supposed feats.
Waddell, a big left-hander, enjoyed a 13-year big-league career (1897; 1899–1910). He spent his best six years with the Philadelphia Athletics and manager Connie Mack. Although he could be frustrating, skipping games, chasing fire engines and routinely getting into trouble., his vast talent gave him chance after chance. He wound up with a career record of 193–143 and a 2.16 ERA.
The southpaw led the league in ERA twice, strikeouts six times and wins once. Passing away in 1914 at the age of 37 from tuberculosis, the end of his life was as sudden as his arrival as a star in baseball. Because of what he accomplished on the field and the many stories about him off it, he could never be easily forgotten and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1946.
Bender, a right-hander, also enjoyed the bulk of his baseball success with the Athletics. A member of the Chippewa Indian Nation, he arrived in Philadelphia in 1903 after stints at the famed Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and then Dickinson College.
During a 16-year big-league career (1903–1917; 1925), Bender spent his first 12 seasons with Philadelphia. Known as a particularly effective big game pitcher, he was instrumental on five squads that went to the World Series, including three that won it all. He finished with a combined record of 212–127 with a 2.46 ERA. This all contributed to him being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.