Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star (Nonfiction)

Tom Swift, University of Nebraska Press, $24.95, Hardcover.
Tom Swift, University of Nebraska Press, $24.95, Hardcover.

Even the protracted, chaotic writing of Tom Swift could not destroy this uplifting story about the life of Charles Bender. As a young Ojibwa Indian child, Bender fled his uncaring home on the reservation to attend the famed Carlisle Indian School where he was deprogrammed and taught the white man’s ways. Though he struggled with an affinity for alcohol and the bigotry of the time, he went on to a career in professional baseball where he pitched many World Series games for the Philadelphia Athletics—regarded as one of the best teams of the dead-ball era. Bender’s baseball career never really ended as he moved on to work as a baseball scout, a manager in the minor leagues and a sought-after pitching coach. He is now, and forever will be, in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

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